Partial funding for this project was provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission.
The third round of traffic wraps were designed by professional artists and were installed in May 2020. Partially funded through a Creative Placemaking grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the wraps include place-based themes in their designs and reflect some of the unique attributes of the areas in which they are located. You can find these artworks at the following intersections:
W. State of Franklin Rd. & W. Watauga Ave.
Artist: Jennifer Geiger
This traffic box is located right along the pollinator pathway that runs between downtown Johnson City and East Tennessee State University. This pathway has been developed in an effort to protect and support pollinators and pollinator-friendly habitats in order to sustain our ecosystem and food systems. As many pollinators are experiencing a decline in numbers due to pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change, and other factors, the City and the university elected to incorporate native, pollinator-friendly landscaping in the downtown, on the university’s campus, and along State of Franklin Road between the two locations.
Beginning in 2019, the What’s the Buzz Johnson City organization and the City of Johnson City joined forces to incorporate 14 sunflower plots along major roadways in addition to the existing native landscaping. The sunflowers will be replanted annually, continually serving as a reminder of the important role that pollinators play in our ecosystem.
The wrap design depicts native flora such as sunflowers and passion flowers along with pollinators such as butterflies and bumble bees. Also included in the design are architectural landmarks from the surrounding area – the Model Mill Company building and the Carolina, Clinchfield & Ohio train depot.
W. State of Franklin Rd. & Sevier St.
Artist: Elijah Peavler
Look for this traffic box just outside the southwest corner of Founders Park. Founders Park is a 5-acre greenway park that features a 200-seat amphitheater. The park was developed in an effort to mitigate flooding in downtown Johnson City while also providing visitors and residents with a pleasant greenspace for personal enjoyment and community gatherings. The park has become a prime location for festivals and music events. Just outside the northeast end of the park, community members gather at Farmers Market Pavilion two times a week from mid-April to October to buy and sell fresh produce, baked and canned goods, and arts and crafts.
This wrap design celebrates the many activities that take place in and around Founders Park. Musical notes swirl across a mountain backdrop, a musician plays the guitar, and a crowd of people stand in front of a Ferris wheel during the Blue Plum Festival. Strawberries and ramps provide a visual taste of the Farmers Market on the opposite end of the park. The artistic Founders Park archway stands in the foreground, and a couple of dogs peek out below.
E. Main St. & Legion St.
Artist: Ann Tarantino
Head towards Legion Street Recreation Center and discover this traffic box by the brick wall that borders the pool area. The Memorial Park Community Center – a state-of-the-art neighborhood community center that serves as the area’s first inter-generational facility – is also located in the vicinity. It includes a Senior Center, 75-foot lap pool and teaching pool, two-court gymnasium, two dance and aerobic rooms, fitness room, billiards and four outdoor tennis courts. Other programming areas include visual arts, socials, computer lab, arts and crafts, media room, game room, outdoor amphitheater and plaza area honoring our veterans.
This wrap is an abstract representation of the fun activities that take place near this site. Bold, bright, and colorful shapes hint at exciting games, fun with friends, and outdoor summer events that take place at the community and recreation centers. Prominent greens and blues resemble the grassy ball fields at the TVA Credit Union Ballpark and the waters at Legion Street Pool.
E. Watauga Ave. & Elm St.
Artist: Donna Abbott-Toutin
You will find this traffic box just one block away from the Langston Centre. The facility was formerly Langston High School, a school for African Americans which opened in 1893. After full integration took place in Johnson City in 1965, most of Langston’s students transferred to Science Hill High School. The school was neglected for many years until Langston graduates and other community members developed an interest in preserving the history of the school. Advocates quickly began working with city officials to preserve and rebuild the school building as a multicultural arts center.
Langston Centre offers educational and multi-cultural opportunities designed to bring diverse groups of people together in a safe learning environment. A large portion of the organization’s programming is tailored for youth and focuses on computer science, theatrical arts, and mentoring. Through its competitive programming, the organization strives to encourage positive and meaningful interaction between all individuals within the multicultural community while also influencing community rehabilitation, improvement, and growth.
The traffic wrap at this location highlights Langston High School’s original motto “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve” – a quote attributed to Mary McLeod Bethune. The text “Enter to Learn” is displayed on the side of the box that is visible when approaching Langston, and “Depart to Serve” is on the opposite side of the box and can be viewed when traveling away from the site.