Images and stories of the group of the 39 current and former students involved in the Alma Mater Tattoo Project will soon be on exhibition for all to see.
Ben Wicker, Assistant Director of Residence Life, started the project in the fall of 2015. Wicker is an alumnus of Maryville College’s class of 2003 and has been a staff member at the college for over eight years. A year after its beginning, Wicker is currently gearing up to showcase the end result of the widely popular project.
According to a story published on MC’s website, this project has had significant media coverage with articles previously published in The Highland Echo and USA Today College, as well as Knoxville News-Sentinel, WVLT Channel 8 in Knoxville, Syracuse University’s Daily Orange and the Maryville College Alumni Focus. Copies of these articles will also be displayed during the exhibition.
When Wicker decided he wanted to get another tattoo, he came up with the idea to memorialize something that is dear to his heart—Maryville College.
“The Alma Mater is one of the things I love about this place, and I always get tingles when I sing it,” said Wicker.
Wicker generated interest in this idea online and decided to break the Alma Mater into 39 sections. This meant he needed 39 participants.
“It’s interesting because we run the gamut of people. We have athletes from football and soccer and a couple past homecoming kings and queens,” said Wicker.
It’s safe to say that many people share Wicker’s admiration for Maryville College.
“You don’t get to be almost 200 years old by being self-centered or self-conscious. You have to understand that it’s something larger than yourself, and you only to get be this close to a bicentennial through people . . . That’s how Maryville College has survived all these years,” said Wicker.
“Not everyone’s first and last name will be displayed during the exhibition,” Said Wicker. “We have a large number of people in our group who got their first tattoo for this project . . . That means so much to me. For people to take that step and for this to be that step is just awesome.”
All are welcome to come see some amazing artwork shown in the form of ink on skin.
The exhibit will be on display in the La Dolce Vita Gallery in Clayton Center for the Arts. The opening will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. A preview displaying will be shown during the Homecoming festivities on the evening of Friday, Oct. 21.