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Dogwood Arts Mural Workshop at Maker Exchange

Dogwood Arts teamed up with professional muralist, Megan Lingerfelt (who painted all of the murals at Maker Exchange) to teach aspiring mural artists the basics! Mural painting comes with a few more factors to consider than working on paper or a canvas; it can be daunting to know where to start. Our workshop was designed to introduce mural painting practices to artists interested in working on a large scale and give participants some hands-on experience and confidence to pursue mural opportunities on their own.

Six local artists were selected to participate, each designing and painting their own mural, which will remain on display in Maker Exchange through the month of March and April 2023.

  • Sarah O’Leary

  • Kate Buuck

  • Gabrielle Barnhart

  • Sara Wieland

  • Nkem Warner

  • Carolina Lebar

Our hope is to make the Mural Workshop a semi-annual event at Maker Exchange.


The Mural Workshop at Maker Exchange is part of our larger public art initiative, Art in Public Places. This program is focused on connecting talented local and regional muralists with property owners who are interested in offering their

buildings as canvases for large-scale murals that are visible to the entire community. The centerpiece of our mural program, Strong Alley, began with

independent artists coming together to create art with the blessings of the building owners whose adjoining properties create this unique space.

Dogwood Arts got involved to protect this legacy and ensure the alley continues to thrive as an active, ever-changing, can’t-miss art destination that improves access to the arts for everyone. Dogwood Arts coordinates this ongoing program in collaboration with artists, property owners, the City of Knoxville, and the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.


Sarah O'Leary

Mural Title: "a sky full of stars, a river full of fish"

Sarah is a practicing painter and graphic designer living in Johnson City, TN. Her graphic design company was born out of a desire to support heart-centered business owners with logos, branding, and website design.

“A Sky Full of Stars, A River Full of Fish” is part of a series Sarah playfully calls “imaginary landscapes.” She is inspired by the diverse environments she has experienced across Turtle Island (North America). With her art, Sarah seeks to express how it feels to be immersed in a landscape, and this piece is an amalgamation of the details that have caught her imagination: the curvy and geometric lines of mountain ridges, desert plants that grow in the most surprising places, and the patterns formed by the ocean tides.


Kate Buuck

Kate Buuck is an artist and designer practicing + residing in east Tennessee. She graduated with a BFA from University of Tennessee in 2013. Upon graduation, she fully pursued graphic design while still holding hands with her fine art practice. Kate's work is best described as feminine, emotive, and curious. She walks the elusive line capturing nature that is at once both abstract and representational. Her work expands through curiosity and play.

Kate's ceramics and paintings will be featured in a duet exhibition with Gabrielle Barnhart at the Dogwood Arts Gallery this June.


Gabrielle Barnhart

Title: "Monarch Migration"

Gabrielle is a Knoxville-based printmaker with a BFA from the University of Tennessee. In 2021, Gabrielle alongside Kate Turnbull, opened West Fifth Studios: an artists space in historic downtown Knoxville with the mission of creating community among artists and engaging Knoxville through shows, events, and classes. Inspired by botany, Gabrielle’s work often combines abstract and botanical elements to create vibrant motifs. While not in her studio, you can find Gabrielle tending to her beehives.

Gabrielle's mural, titled "Monarch Migration," was inspired by the monarch's annual journey from southern Canada to Mexico. Each year, she eagerly awaits their arrival in east Tennessee!

Gabrielle's work will be featured in a duet exhibition with Kate Buuck at the Dogwood Arts Gallery this June.


Carolina Lebar

Originally from Colombia, artist Carolina Lebar, creates illustrations and paintings in the USA. She has always had a passion for creating highly detailed pencil drawings blended with soft, acrylic glazes, celebrating feminine beauty with wildlife, anything fur, fins, and feathers.


Nkem Warner

Title: "Liberty and Justice for All"

Nkem Warner is a hand lettering artist and graphic designer living in Knoxville. Her studio For Tha Masses Design creates works that are conversation pieces surrounding mental health, social and environmental justice.

Her "Liberty and Justice for All" mural is a reminder of the fundamental rights for all Americans and persons living on this land. It is an oath that all Americans take when we pledge our allegiance to the flag. One that should stand as the very bedrock of who we are as a nation.


Sara Wieland

Title: "Diverged from the Unkindness"

Sarah is a native of east Tennessee with a BFA in painting and MA in art education. She is a full time art teacher in Knox County, and mom of two. As an artist, Sara enjoys creating in a variety of media and is inspired by the verdant beauty of our area. Her work tends to be naturalistic, detailed, and harmonious.

Forests are a frequent theme in Sara's artwork. Her mural was inspired by the Art Nouveau style and the striking beauty of the raven.


Megan Lingerfelt

Megan Lingerfelt grew up in Western North Carolina and studied drawing and painting at UNC Asheville. Graduating in 2010 with a BFA she spent the following years building her studio practice in Seattle, where she discovered a love for murals. She now lives in East Tennessee where she continues to exhibit and work in public art.

Drawn to the volume and intersecting lines of engineered forms as well as the sweeping curves and repetition of botanical elements, her work reflects her surroundings through a myriad of repetitive forms in collaged or imagined compositions on surfaces of all sizes. With a focus on light touched surfaces and pushing shadows into dark depths, her compositions place an emphasis on color and contrast. When creating for public spaces she works to imbue the character of each site into the design so that it may serve as a monument to its location.

See more of her work at


All photographs taken by Jared Worsham Photography.

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This Mural Workshop at Maker Exchange sounds amazing! Kudos to Dogwood Arts and Megan Lingerfelt for empowering aspiring mural artists. Can't wait to see the beautiful creations by Sarah O’Leary, Tunnel Rush, Kate Buuck, Gabrielle Barnhart, Sara Wieland, Nkem Warner, and Carolina Lebar!

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