Two new murals celebrate Oak Ridge (more to come?) Megan Lingerfelt


My good friend Jim Dodson is well known for his interest in art. He teaches it, does it himself, and promotes the art in many ways in our city, Knoxville, and at the state level as well. I was fortunate enough to work with him to hire the late Ed Westcott, famous Manhattan Project photographer, when he used Ed’s photographs to encourage his art class to draw pictures based on them. It was a pleasure to see Ed interacting with these students. I missed!

Jim has also organized several outdoor art exhibitions in our city. I recently asked him to share his thoughts on the more recent examples, the Melton Lake Park mural and the latest mural on Broadway Avenue. His thoughts are below.

The Melton Lake Park mural.


Oak Ridge, a city designed in science and built to help win the war, is also a vibrant arts community. We have several performing arts organizations ranging from our historic theater to the Oak Ridge Symphony, Community Band, Oak Ridge Civic Ballet and others.

More recently, we have placed more and more outdoor art around our community, such as large sculptures and monumental murals in public places. Two of the more recent murals were sponsored by Explore Oak Ridge and ORNL FCU, respectively, and created by Oak Ridge resident Megan Lingerfelt. Many know Megan for the exterior murals she created in downtown Knoxville, including the restoration of the Dolly Parton mural in Strong Alley near Market Square in Knoxville.

D. Ray Smith, Historically Speaking columnist.
The mural on the ORNL Federal Credit Union building on Broadway Avenue.

The first mural Megan was commissioned to create is in Melton Lake Park and painted on the side of the Oak Ridge Rowing Association boathouse, which faces Melton Lake Drive and welcomes residents and guests to our seafront, where we welcome rowers from all over the country. The mural was made possible by a grant from Explore Oak Ridge to help boost tourism.

Katy Watt, President of Explore Oak Ridge, wrote the grant and coordinated with me to find a talented artist and endorse the most appropriate artwork that would represent our incredible parks and recreation offerings through imagery. emblematic. The waterfront mural is titled “Sunlight on Melton Lake” and features the sunrise and sunset at either end of the words “OAK RIDGE”.

The second mural created by the same artist is located on Broadway Avenue facing West Tennessee Avenue and is painted on the side of one of ORNL FCU’s properties. This mural commissioned by ORNL FCU and created by Megan depicts the past, present and future of our Oak Ridge community through iconic images taken by Ed Westcott and performed in a compilation by Megan.

The official inauguration of this magnificent mural took place at location of the mural on June 15 at 10 a.m..

Explore Oak Ridge and ORNL FCU are both to be commended for their vision to bring more art to public places in our city. We are very fortunate to have so many talented people who have contributed to the fabric of Oak Ridge. Going forward, I would like to recognize these local leaders, as other cities must not only honor their work, but also educate visitors to Oak Ridge about the vibrant and dynamic history of the place, which we let’s all call home.


Thank you Jim, you are to be commended for your continued efforts to bring art to our city.

I would like other companies to take inspiration from the ORNL Federal Credit Union and consider sponsoring other murals featuring our famous people. Very good portraits of Ed Westcott, Alvin Weinberg, General Leslie Groves, General Kenneth Nichols, John Googin, Jack Case, Clark Center, Clifford Schull, Ernest Wollen, Eugene Wigner and others could be included in the murals!

Megan Lingerfelt puts the finishing touches on the Dolly Parton mural in Strong Alley in Knoxville, Tennessee on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The mural, originally painted by Colton Valentine, was disfigured last week with what some are calling "gothic lips."

Other cities have done so successfully. Murals are real tourist attractions for them. We could do the same!

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