Martinsville, Virginia

Things to Do

Circus Mural in Uptown Martinsville

Arts & Cultural, LGBT Friendly, LGBTQ+ Friendly

Remember those trips to the circus and waiting for the elephants to march center stage? Wait no longer. In Uptown Martinsville, elephants march permanently in a mural painted on the wall of New College Institute. The mural was commissioned and produced as part of Piedmont Arts' Public Art Exhibit. John Stiles, graphic designer and artist, used a contemporary style to design the mural based on a picture owned by Dr. Mervyn and Virginia King. The mural shows a parade of elephants and other performers advertising the arrival of a circus in Martinsville around 1920. It shows elephants parading in front of the courthouse, with banners advertising the circus and First National Bank, as people watch. Before the days of television, the circus was a very big deal in Martinsville, small towns and throughout the country.

Artist Bio
Jessie Ward is an artist, blacksmith, and farrier. Her mediums of the past 50 years include paining, stained glass, and ironwork! Local murals that Jessie painted are the Elephants on Parade/Circus Mural and Cocoa Trail Chocolates’ LOVE Mural. But Jessie has painted all over the world, including a mural in a schoolhouse in the jungle of Tanzania.

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