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.
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.
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
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 painted 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!"
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.
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
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
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:
- Piedmont Arts
- All 19 schools in Martinsville and Henry County
- Martinsville YMCA (Donated by Charity League of Martinsville-Henry County)
- United Way of Henry County and Martinsville
- Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County
- Patrick Henry Community College's J. Burness Frith Economic Development Center
- Martinsville Library
- New College Institute
- Taco Bell
- Virginia Commission for the Arts, Richmond
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Benches for Martinsville-Henry County
- Book Bench by Ed Dolinger, Blue Ridge Regional Library
- Bee Bench by Meritha Alderman, Piedmont Arts
- Birdhouse Bench by Ed Dolinger and Jacob Smith, Henry County Administration Building
- Fossil Bench by Page Turner, Virginia Museum of Natural History
A team of artists and community members worked together to create four eye-catching benches for bus stops and other locations in Martinsville-Henry County. The Benches for MHC project was born out of an AIR Institute workshop hosted by Piedmont Arts in January 2020. Workshop participants with a variety of creative and business skills worked together to design and plan the Benches for MHC project, which received $10,000 in grant funding from the Harvest Foundation. In the spring of 2022, the completed benches were installed at their permanent locations around Martinsville-Henry County.