Public Art

Gravely-Lester Art Garden

207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Funded in part through an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

In 2016, Piedmont Arts and the City of Martinsville created the Gravely-Lester Art Garden with support from sponsors and a $25,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

This lush green public space, punctuated by sculptures and murals by artists from around the country, is located in the heart of Martinsville's Arts and Cultural District. The Art Garden provides a beautiful, relaxing setting to visit, walk, observe nature — including a 100-year-old Remarkable Tree of Virginia — and appreciate the power of art.

The Art Garden is also home the museum's Historic Little Post Office (c.1893), a former working post office on the USPS's Star Route. The Little Post Office is not open to the public, but visitors are invited to enjoy the architecture and grounds. 

Cliffhanger, Jeff Fetty Rooster Lovework, Jessie Ward Giving Tree, Jeremy Stollings Day in a Life, Mark Wright Four Seasons, Ed Dolinger Butterfly, Beryl Solla


Visiting the Art Garden

  • Free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.
  • Parking located at Piedmont Arts, with handicap parking available adjacent to the Art Garden.
  • Pets welcome. Please clean up after your pet.

 

  

Kabuki Dancer

Barry Tinsley
Brushed Steel, 2006
Piedmont Arts, 215 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Donated by the children of Paul T. Mattox in memory of their father

Kabuki Dancer was donated to Piedmont Arts in 2006 by the children of Paul T. Mattox. Paul was an avid supporter of the arts in Martinsville-Henry County and this eye-catching work, which graces the museum's front patio, is a true tribute to his memory.

Elephants on Parade

Jessie Ward
Mural, 2009
NCI King Building, 30 Franklin Street, Martinsville, VA

Funded through a grant from the Harvest Foundation with support from Dr. and Mrs. Mervyn King, New College Institute and City of Martinsville

Elephants on Parade was inspired by an historic photograph from the collection of retired doctor and local property owner, Dr. Mervyn King. Taken around 1920, the photograph features a parade of elephants, clowns and performers advertising the arrival of a circus in Martinsville. The photograph was adapted into a vibrant and detailed mural that invites viewers to seek out more information about the area's history. The mural was designed by John Stiles and completed by Jessie Ward.

In December of 2020, The Harvest Foundation awarded Piedmont Arts with a PUP grant for the restoration of Elephants on Parade. Of the project, The Harvest Foundation said, "Preserving our local art is important to community vitality, cultural identity and tourism attraction. We are excited to see this masterpiece remastered!"

Farmers Market

Betty LaDuke
Mural, 2009
Uptown Farmers Market, 60 West Church Street, Martinsville

Funded through a grant from the Harvest Foundation, a grant from the Puffin Foundation, financial support from MHC After 3, and the support of City of Martinsville, Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association, Studio 107 and R. Reid Young III, P.C.

Artist Betty LaDuke toured Martinsville-Henry County to create sketches of local people and places. These sketches were the inspiration for Farmers Market, the large-scale mural LaDuke created especially for the Uptown Farmers' Market.

In conjunction with LaDuke's mural project, area high school students enrolled in MHC After 3/Upward Bound worked with local artist Celia Tucker to design and paint mini-murals inspired by LaDuke's design. These murals hang on the stalls at the Farmers Market.

Old Glory

Scott LoBaido
Mural, 2012
TheatreWorks, 44 Franklin Street, Martinsville, VA

Funded with support from the Wounded Warrior Project, City of Martinsville and VisitMartinsville

Renowned artist Scott LoBaido, whose stunning depictions of the American flag can be seen all across America, used his patriotic artistry to create, Old Glory, a stunning American flag mural on the outer wall of TheatreWorks in Uptown Martinsville. LoBaido created this 18 ft. x 38 ft. mural in honor of Cpl. JB Kerns, a local veteran who lost three limbs in an IED explosion during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan.

June German Ball

Community Project
Mural, 2014
Fayette Square, 53 Fayette Street, Martinsville, VA

Planned and funded by New College Institute with support from City of Martinsville

June German Ball, celebrates the vibrant culture and heritage of Martinsville's historic Fayette Street. The mural depicts a fictional scene from one of Martinsville's famed June German Balls, which were popular within the African American community in the early part of the 20th century. These balls were held yearly, in the heat of June, and featured celebrated entertainers from the Jazz age like Jimmie Lunceford & His Dance Orchestra, who performed at the event in 1938.

June German Ball was designed and painted by Abigail Kieselbach and Briana Amos, interns participating in the New College Institute's summer internship program; local artists Charles Hill, Iris Gillispie and Lex Hairston; former New College Institute Coordinator of Experimental Learning, Katie Croft; former Piedmont Arts intern, Ally Sneed; and Piedmont Arts Director of Exhibitions and Marketing Bernadette Moore.

Mobilizing Our Community

Kevin Reese
Mobiles, 2014
28 Locations in Martinsville-Henry County

Support provided by Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, United Way of Henry County and Martinsville, Dominion, RTI International Metals, Hooker Furniture, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Chick-fil-A, W.W. Sale Foundation, Lucy P. Sale Foundation, Charity League of Martinsville and Henry County, The Lester Group, Kathryn Ascough Smith Art Education Fund of Piedmont Arts

Students from all 19 schools in Martinsville-Henry County participated in Mobilizing Our Community, a mobile-making project presented by Piedmont Arts. Artist Kevin Reese worked with students to create dynamic mobiles that are now a permanent part of the community.

Mobiles on view to the public can be found at the following locations:

Mobiles installed in non-public facilities are located at The Lester Group offices, Hooker Furniture's Customer Service Center, Chick-fil-A, RTI International Metals, and private residences.

Uptown Connection Trail

Amanda Honore Donley, Aleen Wilson
Mural, 2015
Uptown Pocket Park, 41 Fayette Street, Martinsville, VA

Planned and funded by City of Martinsville

Like a postcard of yesteryear, Uptown Connection Trail sends well wishes to visitors taking a break in Uptown’s newest pocket park. Designed and painted by local artists Amanda Honore Donley and Aleen Wilson, this mural is a picture-perfect addition to historic Uptown.

Mosaic Murals

Beryl Solla
Ceramic Tiles, 2017
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Butterfly sponsored by For Alison Foundation in Memory of Alison B. Parker / Cardinal sponsored by Lizz Stanley in Loving Memory of Helen C. Stanley

As the first art project in the Gravely-Lester Art Garden, artist Beryl Solla created six mosaic murals for the Art Garden sign. Solla incorporated ceramic designs created by community members at a Piedmont Arts Family Day. Solla's mosaics celebrate plants and animals native to Virginia including ferns, dogwoods, cardinals and eastern tiger swallowtails.

Four Seasons

Ed Dolinger
Mild Steel, 2017
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Sponsored by Julie Ascough Work in memory of Purnell Schottland Ascough, Kay Ascough Smith and Harrison Smith

This 12-foot-tall tree sculpture has four uniquely designed sides, each representing one of the four seasons in vibrant, vivid colors, handpainted by the artist. It also incorporates a built-in chair, where visitors can sit and enjoy the Art Garden.

Day In A Life

Mark Wright
Wood, Found Objects, 2017
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Day In A Life is a collection of icons that represent the contributions to our world from the people of Martinsville-Henry County. It is a monument to recollections of the city’s heyday and to a community that peacefully shares diversity and brotherhood and thrives upon intelligent minds and sweat. Many of the pieces can be touched, moved and rotated, connecting the viewer to the work.

Lovework

Jessie Ward 
Welded Horseshoes, 2017
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Sponsored by George W. Lester II in honor of his wife Lee Allen Lester

Lovework is made of horseshoes that have been hand-forged into the shape of hearts. It will eventually become the second letter in the museum’s own LOVEwork, a free-standing sculpture that spells out the word love. LOVEworks can be seen in many towns and cities in Virginia, and are an initiative of the Virginia Tourism Corporation to encourage tourism and celebrate the Commonwealth’s motto, Virginia is for Lovers.

Cliffhanger

Jeff Fetty
Forged Steel, 2019
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Commissioned by Will Pannill in memory of his father Bill Pannill

Cliffhanger is an horticulturally accurate rendering of a cliffhanger daffodil, commissioned by local businessman Will Pannill in memory of his father, Bill “DaffyBill” Pannill. A Martinsville native, Bill was a businessman, textile industry executive, amateur botanist and noted daffodil hybridizer. During his life, he hybridized, named and registered 210 new varieties of daffodils. He was a former president of both the American Daffodil Society and the American Horticultural Society. He also founded the Horticulture Society of South Florida. Bill’s love and knowledge of daffodils led him to be known as the “World’s Greatest Authority on Daffodils.” Although he was an amateur botanist, his bulbs are grown by the acre in Holland and sold all over the world. Made of forged steel, Cliffhanger stands 10 ft. high and weighs in at 500 lbs.

The base of Cliffhanger is surrounded by 100 daffodils, which were planted by Bill’s niece Lucy Wilson, using daffodils that were given to her by her uncle.

Giving Tree

Jeremy Stollings
Steel, 2019
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

Donated by Community Foundation Serving Western Virginia, Women in Philanthropy

Designed to fit seamlessly into the natural landscape of the Art Garden, Giving Tree recognizes the donors whose generous support helped make the Art Garden a reality.

Rooster

Artist Unknown
Steel, Date Unknown
Gravely-Lester Art Garden, 207 Starling Ave, Martinsville, VA

A gift from the Judy and John Matthews Estate

Rooster was donated by the family of Judy and John Matthews. The sculpture is a tribute to Judy and John’s legacy of love and support for the arts in Martinsville-Henry County.

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