Circus Mural in Uptown Martinsville
Locality: Martinsville City
New College Institute (NCI)
30 Franklin St
Martinsville, VA 24112
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.