R.P. Gravely-A.J. Lester Art Garden
Experience the arts in the heart of Martinsville's Arts & Cultural District|
207 Starling Ave
Martinsville, VA 24112
Open Daily: Dawn – Dusk
In 2016, Piedmont Arts and City of Martinsville received a $25,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the commission of artwork for the museum's R.P. Gravely-A.J. Lester Art Garden.
Piedmont Arts' Gravely-Lester Art Garden features six sculptures on a convenient walking path, a 100-year-old Remarkable Tree of Virginia, and is home to the museum's Historic Little Post Office, a former working post office (c.1893) on the USPS's Star Route.
Visiting the Art Garden
- The Art Garden is free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.
- Parking is located at Piedmont Arts, with handicap parking available adjacent to the Art Garden.
- Pets are welcome in the Art Garden. Please clean up after your pet.
Funded, in part, through an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
Historic Little Post Office
Founded in 1893, Piedmont Arts’ Historic Little Post Office played a critical role in the expansion of the United States postal service’s Star Route, when it was operated as a contract post office (1893 – 1917) by John B. Anglin. Located in the heart of Martinsville’s Arts & Cultural District, the small, gable-front building is lushly detailed in the Queen Anne Style, with beautiful ironwork and an original stained glass door.
Open by appointment only
- Virginia Historic Landmark
- National Register of Historic Places
Sponsored by Julie Ascough Work in memory of Purnell Schottland Ascough, Kay Ascough Smith and Harrison Smith
Mild Steel, 2017
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.
Wood, Found Objects, 2017
Sponsored by George W. Lester II in honor of his wife Lee Allen Lester
Welded Horseshoes, 2017
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."
Forged Steel, 2019
Commissioned by Will Pannill in memory of his father
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.
Designed to fit seamlessly into the natural landscape of the Art Garden, the Giving Tree recognizes the donors whose generous support helped make the Art Garden a reality.
Steel, Date Unknown
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.