KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — If you were driving on a stretch of Chapman Highway in South Knoxville recently, no doubt you noticed a charming little shop with a huge white concrete brick wall on the side. It was a blank canvas just waiting for the right artist to come along to turn it into a masterpiece. Now it’s happened.
Inner Peace Curiosities Shop owners painted over old graffiti that was there when they moved in.
“As much as we love art, obviously we love art, but it kind of was a different message that we were hoping to put out to the community,” Meleah McCammon said.
Plans to create something new were put on hold during the pandemic.
“Every time I would pass I would think, ‘There’s a big white wall and it needs something,'” artist Gale Ferguson Hinton said.
Gale is a renowned artist who grew up in South Knoxville and graduated from Young High School (the school building was demolished years ago).
“I brought my annual so everybody would know the Class of ’60 is still alive and well,” Gale said, proudly showing her yearbook.
Gale is known for gifting many of her beautiful creations to schools and communities all over the country.
She recalled how this project started.
“Finally, one day, I just bit the bullet and got out, pulled my car in, introduced myself to the owner.”
“We started talking and it was very, just perfect, how it all fell together,” Meleah said.
“I said, ‘How about we do Monet meets Smoky Mountains?’ And she agreed,” Gale said.
So, Gale brought her ladders and supplies and got to work, creating creatures large and small, water lilies, a bridge, using so many beautiful colors. When you drive by, take in the scenic beauty.
“It’s at this tremendously busy intersection that when you drive through here, to me, it’s just like ‘Ah, calm.’ Just instant calm,” neighbor Jill Wells said.
Beautiful butterflies beg you to strike a pose. Moving words of wisdom from the great Maya Angelou remind us we are all in this together.
“We need love as we need water. We need each other as we need the earth we share.”Maya Angelou quote on Inner Peace Curiosities Shop mural
“There are so many issues that are heart wrenching and that make you so angry. What I wanted people to see as they were driving by every day was that message of love, of each other, of togetherness,” MeLeah said.
Community leader David Hayes watched the mural as it was coming together.
“We need reminders, ” he said, “of how important love is, and how important we are to each other.”
The message for us all is signed by the artist herself.
“The best form of communication is kindness.”Artist Gale Ferguson Hinton quote on Inner Peace Curiosities Shop mural
“This one is good, ” Gale said. “I think it says it all because truly I think we all need something, and we all need to pull together, and we need to share because we are all spinning around on this blue planet together.”
If you’d like to see the mural, it’s outside the Inner Perfect’s Curiosities Shop at 5927 Chapman Highway.