The story behind the new Wilcox Tunnel murals - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

The story behind the new Wilcox Tunnel murals

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A team of local and national artists have been busy painting murals on the Wilcox Tunnel. 

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke toured the murals Thursday morning. 

They aren't finished just yet but the $75,000 project is taking shape. 

Greta McLain sees the light at the end of the tunnel and if you ask her, it looks bright. 

"There's so many positive things happening and good people living here and good work happening, how do we lift up those stories?" the artist with Green Space Murals said. 

With each stroke of the brush, McLain highlights a story rooted in the east Chattanooga community. 

The faces featured are those of neighbors. 

The artist, from Minneapolis, is using a number of techniques aimed to catch your eye from afar whether you live here or use the Wilcox Tunnel passing through. 

"We come here, we get to paint, we get to work with people and then we leave, and the most important thing is people feel like they see themselves in this work and they have that moment of remembering making it," she added. 

This is a project local artists Alex Paul Loza and Mercedes Llanos will always remember.

For Loza, it's a project that has helped him expand his craft. 

"For me, I've always done direct on the wall, and I've heard of other artists doing this and I wasn't quite sure how it would work," he said. 

Loza helped children from the community paint the murals under layer on canvas. 

They then used something called a parachute technique to apply the mural in sections. 

"The kids that are painted are local kids from this community. So that was the beauty of seeing them and their parents and family coming on that day to paint," he said. 

McLain hopes the relationships created around this project will help make this area a brighter place. 

"So they've been touched by so many hands, even the ones that are up really high, that no one is allowed to get on the lift to go touch that, they were able to paint that. So this is truly community made," she said. 

The tunnel is set to reopen Friday, April 6. 

The project was funded by the Footprint Foundation, the Benwood  Foundation and the city of Chattanooga. 

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