McKenzie, TN 38201
Title of the mural: “Early U.S. Post Village”
Artist: Karl Oberteuffer
I’m at odds with myself on the best way to approach writing this one up. I mentioned in an earlier post, the slow start and difficulty I experienced when I started my tour in Tennessee. If memory serves me correctly it started with finding out the Lexington Tennessee post office was closed for renovations and is now the Beech River Cultural Center. Turns out I was never able to get a look or photograph the mural inside this building.
So then you could imagine my disappointment when I arrived at the McKenzie Tennessee Post Office and was forbidden to photograph this one. Yes, I you read that right. I was forbidden by the supervisor on duty from photographing the mural. I took this really hard and just could not understand why. At first the supervisor was not there, apparently out to lunch. So I went and photographed the Former McKenzie post office building and returned to the newer McKenzie building. The old mural is on display behind the counter for all to see. These are works of art for the public to enjoy. So having been denied the ability to photograph it made this a really frustrating experience for me.
I flew, rented a car and drove all the way out here to view and photograph this one. Most murals are in the lobby, so they are more accessible for the public to view. This one however, was behind the counter, so I felt obligated to ask permission before shooting photos of it. When the postal workers stopped and said they would need to check I taken by surprise. I keep thinking to myself, it’s a public work of art, of course I can take pictures of it. But I figured I’d be polite and ask. In hindsight I should have just shot the pictures. I know the supervisor is just trying to do his job, but there are clear signs that others have photographed this mural. “Even with it being behind the counter”.
So that’s the story and now I ask, you my readers. When do you just throw out the “being the nice guy” and just shoot the pictures? I came all this way and left with my tail between my legs. I’ll be back to ask again and hopefully get this one photographed for my collections. Has anyone else experienced this? What was your experience? Were you denied photographing this mural? There are plenty of pictures on the internet, so to all those who have photographed it. Did you ask? Or did you just shoot the photos?
On the bright side, I still have move to visit so it does give me another reason to head back to Tennessee.
UPDATE!!! In December 2014 I re-visted McKenzie and was able to get pictures of the mural.
Thanks for stopping by
- Personal visit on 3/31/2013 and 12/23/2014 by David, Post Office Freak
- (affiliate link) Democratic Vistas: Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal: [Hardcover] Marlene Park, Gerald E. Markowitz
- Living New Deal (www.livingnewdeal.org)
- (affiliate link): Tennessee Post Office Murals: Howard Hull