Chattanooga, Tenn – How can a city, and a community, preserve its cultural heritage while undergoing rapid gentrification? Artist Meg Saligman looks to murals for an answer.

The MLK Mural: We will not be satisfied until, Saligman’s latest work, is a massive, painted testament to the complex cultural dynamics along M.L. King Blvd in Chattanooga, TN. This ambitious mural reclaims an entire city block with lush color and locally-sourced imagery in order to depict Chattanooga’s past, present, and future. All elements within the work are culled directly from the site, the product of extensive local research and dialogue. Each individual depicted in the work, for example, is a real, everyday Chattanoogan photographed by the artists. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech also served as a major inspiration for the work and provided its title.

The MLK Mural is the largest mural in the Southeastern U.S., one of the top 5 largest in the nation, and the first to wrap an entire city block. The Meg Saligman Studios team was joined by six Chattanooga artists, who together logged in over 6,100 hours to complete the mural. In all it took them just over 5 months to complete the work, painting seven days a week from sun up to sun down.

Written by staff of Public Art Review.

Featured as a web-only piece during print publication of Public Art Review #53.