‘Hawk’ designs hawk: Eagle Scout community project

  • Hardin Valley Academy senior Ethan Griffin improved the exterior of the former site of Karns Fire Department Station No. 2 with his “Hawk” painting for his Eagle Scout project. He finished it up last week and is pictured in front of the mural . - Michelle Hollenhead

  • Ethan Griffin putting the finishing touches on it. - Michelle Hollenhead

A Hardin Valley Academy senior turned a community eyesore into a work of art, perfectly capturing the area’s mascot while also working toward his Eagle Scout project.

Since October, Ethan Griffin has been painting a highly visible oversized hawk mural along a prominent outer wall of the former Karns Fire Department Station 2 location fronting Hardin Valley Road. The building, now used primarily for storage, was ripe for renovation, and the fire department, which leases it from Knox County Schools, gave Griffin its blessing on the project.

A gifted and studied artist, Griffin designed the figure, which from a distance depicts the silhouette of a Hawk, but up close reflects not only the Hardin Valley community but also the surrounding beauty of Oak Ridge, Downtown Knoxville, the windmills of Oliver Springs, the Solway Bridge and the Great Smoky Mountains.

The primary colors are bright green, blue and orange and the nearly finished artwork is an appealing welcome to both the community and the school grounds.

“I wanted to do something with far-reaching and long-lasting effects,” said Griffin, who plans to pursue fashion design and art after graduating from HVA next spring and is still deciding between Savannah College of Art and Design and Kent State. “I also wanted to represent not only Hardin Valley but our connection to the Greater Knoxville area.”

He said he had been working on the project for about six months, between the design work and the actual painting process, and had input from classmates, family, friends and his fellow Boy Scout Troop No. 18 members. His put the finishing touches on the mural last week.

Griffin is in a bit of a time crunch to finish the project and have it go before the Board of Review before his 18th birthday, which will be Dec. 17.

“Your project has to be done before you turn 18,” he explained.

Griffin is the son of Ginger and Rodney Griffin. His mother teaches fifth grade at Hardin Valley Elementary and his father is creative director for Regal Cinemas.

Funding for the project was set up through the Go Fund Me website, and while the $2,000 goal was met, any additional donations will go directly to the Karns Fire Department.

“I hoped to raise as much money as I could for them,” he said. “They do a great job, and I also want to thank them for letting me do this project.”