“Traditions of Appalachia”

Artist Steven Teller completed his mural entitled Traditions of Appalachia in October 2022. He created his design in response to a detailed narrative provided within the call for artists which outlined the history of music and craft traditions in the Johnson City area.

The mural project was funded through a partnership between Johnson City Public Art and Blue Plum Gives Back, and the two organizations commissioned Teller for the project after conducting an artist selection process. His design highlights traditions that have been practiced and celebrated within the region for decades, featuring bluegrass/old-time musical instruments, musicians, quilt patterns, and various types of flora.

The quilt patterns that peek out from the background on the left hand side of the design were carefully selected to showcase patterns that have been commonly used in the Appalachian region. The “grandmother’s flower garden” pattern can be found on the lower section of the mural, and the “string” quilt pattern is featured on the upper section. Passion flowers, hollyhocks, and irises rise up between the musicians and fill the mural with a sense of vibrancy.

The mural faces Commerce Street and the parking lot adjacent to the Pavilion at Founders Park, serving as a backdrop for a portion of the event site for the Blue Plum Festival, an annual music festival held in downtown Johnson City. Teller skillfully designed the mural to create a visually cohesive artwork that wraps around four walls situated at different angles around the building. His design was partly inspired by the Johnson City Sessions, a series of influential early country music recordings conducted by Frank Walker of Columbia Records.

Teller specializes in street art and large-scale public murals, and his work creates an abstract realism with attention to human figures, large florals, and other natural elements. Learn more about the artist at https://steventellerarts.com/.