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Jellico's history unfolds on mural | Arts & Culture

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Jellico's history unfolds on mural
Jellico's history unfolds on mural

A plain wall in the heart of an East Tennessee town has a fresh new look thanks to fresh paint.

The wall tells the history of Jellico.

Jellico High School Art Teacher Dee Day said, "I got a phone call from the mayor of Jellico and he was asking if we could put something on this huge wall."

The answer was yes.

City workers painted the wall white then Dee Day sketched in some murals reflecting the town's history.

"Jellico used to be a booming town. There was a movie theater, there used to be an opera house. And a lot of people have heard of Grace Moore. She was a famous opera singer and actress. She's from here," Day explained.

Grace Moore's likeness is one of the featured murals on the wall. Dee Day will finish that one herself but students are filling in the other murals in with paint.

Art Student Brett Begluitti said, "I just go down there and do whatever Dee tells me to do. Just paint backgrounds and windows and stuff."

Some of the students have specific assignments.

"We realized we wanted all the trees and bushes to look consistent so Dee asked me to go through and paint a lot of the bushes and trees on the other painting too so they all look the same," Art Student David Smith.

Students who graduated last year started the project and now current art students will finish it.

Day said, "They're learning to paint and they're coming down and helping me in the evenings after school we go down and paint. We quit about 9:00."

They won't quit until it's complete but the finish date is unclear.

"It really depends on how much help I get and the weather. Last week every time it rained. You can't paint in the rain," Day said.

When they do paint the students practice their art skills and develop some life skills.

"It takes my shy kids and makes them a little rowdier. But that's OK. But it also helps some of my rowdy kids calm down a little bit so that helps too," she said.

The project helps preserve the history of Jellico and leaves a legacy for the students who helped create it.

Scott - Campbell - Morgan Businesses