THE PINES MURAL
The Pines mural was completed by artist Seth Bishop in September 2022. It is located in historic downtown Sevierville, Tennessee on The Pines building at the corner of Court Avenue and Joy Street.
The artwork honors its building’s history as a theater by featuring five of the most famous talents who performed on its stage: (from left to right) singer Roy Acuff, comedian Archie Campbell, superstar Dolly Parton, singer-songwriter June Carter Cash, and musician Chet Atkins.
The Pines: Then & Now
In the mid-20th Century, The Pines Theater was the first of two movie theaters in downtown Sevierville. It also staged live performances by musicians, comedians, and radio shows.
The Pines Theater opened in 1944, but the building is older than that. “It was originally Watson Motor Company,” says Austin Williams, who chairs the board of the Sevierville Commons Association and is a developer who owns several buildings downtown. “It housed several different businesses throughout the years, but the building’s longest history and the thing it’s most recognized for was its stint as a 700-seat theater that hosted a lot of concerts.”
One performer was Sevierville hometown hero Dolly Parton. The Pines Theater is where 10-year-old Dolly first performed in front of a paying audience on the Cas Walker Farm and Home Tour radio show in 1956. As a tribute to the place where her career began, the theater located in the Jukebox Junction area of Dollywood is named The Pines Theater.
The Pines Theater closed in 1959. It’s now reconceived as an entertainment venue that aims to be the ultimate social corner. “We wanted to create a space that gives people an option of something to do before or after dinner,” says Williams. Fun to-dos include duckpin bowling, Dutch shuffleboard, bocce ball, retro video games, board games, darts, snookball, giant Jenga, and more. “All the games aim to get people together to socialize and hang out with a big nostalgic spin,” says Williams. Food and drink will be available on site with a pub-style menu overseen by Chef David Rule.
The mural joins other public works of art downtown in sharing Sevierville’s history. “Art is what makes a downtown unique,” says Williams. “The plan for The Pines mural came together in conversations with me, the renovation architect, the artist, and Sevierville’s historian Carroll McMahan.”
Though the painting was completed in about 12 days, “these things seem to take a year from the conception of the idea to completion,” says Seth Bishop, mural artist. “The original concept was to have several different performers all on stage together, but with such a long list of people it wasn’t going to work to do an image from the audience view. In the best-case scenario, those people would have been life-size, but when painting a face on a brick surface from that distance they wouldn’t be recognizable—that wasn’t going to work!” To fit larger-than-life images into the planned space, the list of potential stars to include was narrowed down from more than a dozen to the five most recognizable and influential.
Bishop searched the Internet for pictures of each performer at the age that they were when performing at The Pines Theater. Once he finalized the lineup and composition, he worked on style, images, and colors. “I auditioned several colors for Dolly’s shirt,” he says.
While working on the painting, Bishop says, “People driving by would stop their cars to tell me, 'It looks cool!’ and ‘It’s sure fun to see!’” Different passersby readily recognized different performers featured in the mural.
When the specific location on the wall was finalized, a bit more space was available than originally anticipated, so Bishop was able to expand the original design. Even so, the mural doesn’t fill the wall; about another 50 feet remains blank. “It would be possible to continue the design down the building or add a title,” says Bishop. “There’s more space to play with.” Any future updates will be featured on VisitSevierville.com.
Learn more about the history of The Pines Theatre on this video.
Read more about Dolly Parton’s connections to Sevierville here.
Find out about Seth Bishop’s “Red’s Café” mural here.
Discover more of Sevierville’s featured artists here.
When the stories start with, "I had the best time ever...," you know you've visited Sevierville, Tennessee.
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