District 1 Gateway: James Road
When Jeff Unthank received the commission for the District 1 Gateway project at James Road, he began researching the history of the Raleigh - Frayser area and how the past has and will continue to impact the neighborhood. Through his exploration, the artist uncovered countless stories of community role models bringing people together to serve the greater good of the community. Jeff Unthank utilized a quilt-like style of painting to tell the story of the Raleigh - Frayser area in a way that acknowleges the neighborhood's contributions to the City of Memphis. Featured are a number of historical figures who lived in or came from this neighborhood. The narratives of his mural include distinguished personalities, such as Doc Frayser, a country doctor who went door-to-door healing the sick, and Free Joe, the first African-American architect in Shelby County, who also facilitated the Underground Railroad and the integration of public schools in Shelby County. Over 60 panels, some up to 14 feet high, cover several hundred feet in length on both sides of the James Road underpass at Scenic Highway.
About the Artist
Jeff Unthank was raised in Cincinnati, OH. He studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design in New York then Illustration and Communication Design at Columbus College of Art and Design. His commercial work has appeared as covers as well as interiors of many publications. He has participated in many group exhibits and competitions, receiving multiple awards for his work. His paintings are part of corporate and private collections throughout the US. Primarily, he is a painter who works in a wide range of size, style and medium.