AMT @ Stuart, VA
Enjoy your mural trail Experience!   Have a "Transformational Moment" when you take your selfie in front of a historic Mural and share your experience on the Selfie Page.

US Post Office New Deal Mural
"Receiving the Mail on the Farm"
Stuart, VA

Exit BR Parkway MilePost: 177.7

MURALIST: John E. Costigan(1888-1972)
Mural Photo by: Amanda Collins

Mural Descriptions

     Featured Mural - "Receiving the Mail on the Farm"     John E. Costigan's "Receiving the Mail on the Farm" was installed in the Stuart, Virginia Post Office in 1942. This mural is the third of three very similar post office murals completed by Costigan and commissioned by the Section of Fine Arts of the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the New Deal public works. The other two were installed in Rensselaer, Indiana in 1939 (with the mural having the same title) and in Girard, Ohio in 1938 which has since been inadvertently destroyed in 1962 and was titled Workers of the Soil. All three post office murals depict a similar scene of a farming family pausing their work to read the mail they had received.

     The Stuart and Rensselaer murals portray a father reading to his wife and children what could be an invoice for the bags of seed pictured while draft horses wait patiently for the work to continue. In both paintings the mother is holding a small child. There is an obvious contrast between the Stuart and Rensselaer murals. The Stuart mural is brightly colored and draws your eyes right to the feminine mother. Rensselaer s mural is quite the opposite. Costigan uses very dark colors and draws your eyes to the masculine father. It is said that Costigan used his family as muses for the figures in his art and often likened the female figures to his wife, Ida.

     The subject of many of Costigan's works have been centered on landscapes and family, two things Stuart and Patrick County have a great abundance of, making this community a fitting location for the mural. Location: 101 N. Main St

Artist Bio

     John Edward Costigan was born in 1888 in Province, Rhode Island. Orphaned at 13, he went to New York City, got a job with a lithography company, ultimately became a sketch artist, and worked there on and off until 1930. A self-taught artist, Costigan was quickly successful enough to exhibit a painting at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., in 1916. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War I, he married Ida Blessin, a sculptor who had served as a model for his paintings. They bought an 11-acre farm in Orangeburg, New York, then a small rural community about 25 miles north of New York City. His family and the farm are the subject of much of his art.

     His art flourished in the 1920's. He won 19 prizes, among them 5 prizes from both Art Institute of Chicago and the National Academy of Design including its Saltus gold medal as well as 4 prizes from New York's Salmagundi Club and 3 from the American Watercolor Society. In 1921, at New York s Rehm Gallery, he had his first one-man exhibition. Elected to the National Academy of Fine Arts he was thereby entitled to add after his last name the initials N.A., which stand for National Academician. His art found a ready market in these years, and as a result much of it now hangs in museums across the country. His second solo exhibit came in 1927 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

     The Great Depression began in October 1929, leading to the closing of factories and businesses and to bank failures. Unemployment rose rapidly until it peaked at 25% of the workforce of the nation in 1933. Costigan was unable to sell his art, and there were fewer exhibitions with smaller prizes. President Franklin Roosevelt's administration developed a variety of programs to provide work for the unemployed, including programs for artists. In addition to the three commissions Costigan received to paint murals in post offices for the Treasury Department's Section for Fine Arts, he and Ida were employed by the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). When the federal art projects ended at the beginning of World War II, Costigan found work at a defense plant. Able to devote himself more fully to his art in the 1950's, he won 20 prizes.

     The first major retrospective of his career was held at the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1965 when he was 72. Costigan's crowning recognition came in 1972 when New York's Salmagundi Club awarded him its Benjamin West Clinedinst Medal for distinguished achievement in painting. Other retrospectives were hosted after his death, notable among them a retrospective of his prints at the Swope Museum of Art in Terre Haute, Indiana in 2000. Costigan died in 1972, Ida in 1975. They are buried in the cemetery of St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Nanuet, New York, not far from their farmstead home.

Copyright © Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc non-profit 2016-2099

     Mural News

     AMT @ Stuart, VA

Mural Maps

Quickly Find nearest Mural
(on U.S. Map)

Discover Murals with Art Maps

Find the nearest mural from
your location(NC or VA cities only)
where you are right now or
where you might be in the future.
Type City only

     AMT @ Stuart, VA


    comment by: Gloria
Love, love, love ❤ all the art we saw and experienced while in Asheville!!Laura

    comment by: Lois
Brilliant way to allow visitors to enjoy the sites and sounds that Asheville has to offer.

    comment by: Rebecca&Susan
We just loved all of the murals in Asheville! Asheville is a fun vibrant interesting town!

    comment by: Catherine Wilson
    (Asheville, NC)

As a member of Carolina Street Mural group, I learned about The Appalachian Mural Trail! After reviewing your web page. I planned my road trips to locate the trail murals, reflect on them and photograph memories of my trip!

    comment by: Tammy Compton
    (Fort Myers, Florida)

Love it! We went looking to take selfies with 3 and found over 20 murals!

    comment by: Angie Trapp
    (Concord, NC)

Beautiful mural in Sparta, one of my favorite places! 😊❤️

    comment by: Debra
    (Falls Church City, VA)

Thanks for letting me know! What a great project!
It added cool stops to my visit and I love seeing art and the artist was around that day to meet.

    comment by: Cristy (Mountain City, TN)
We have been getting much more traffic around our murals, and a lot of it is due to the publicity from your organization!
Thank you!
We will unveil our newest (and largest) mural on September 4th.

    comment by: Cindy Hedrick Day
It's beautiful! Thank you!!!!
Awesome! You made my day! Love love love it!.
I saw the email re the Mural Trail special in process of being made. Can't wait to see it. We are working to finish our projects, exhibit changes, etc. Who knew it would take so long! But, it's soon finished!!!
Looking forward to seeing this!
Thank you again!!!

    comment by: Marcie Toomey
This is our second visit to Holy Trinity.. we always leave blessed and humbled ❤️

    comment by: Chelsea
Thank you so much for the quick response! I received my shirt and thoroughly enjoyed the trail! Thank you for all of the hard work put into this project!

    comment by: Debbie Dillion
Just came across your website and it is great! I plan to look for these murals in my travels. A phone app would be awesome.

    comment by: Carol
Lincolnton, NC, is loaded with murals! And I love them all!

    comment by: Barry & Cindy Beaulieu
we got to see the Fresco in W. Jefferson NC and is amazing ... we were on our two wheeler the Voyager... nature declares there is a God... everywhere you look... thanking ya'll so very very much...

    comment by: Vickie Sealock
    (Welcome Center Manager)

I love what you folks are doing. Several years ago we went to Exeter California to see their Mural trail. We spent hours in this little town looking at the murals and trying to find the hidden objects in each. We talked with the towns people, had lunch, shopped in the shops. I love the mural trails, and yours is going to be one of the best. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

    comment by: Liz
Art is everywhere in Asheville! This gorgeous mural of Dolly Parton by Gus Cutty is the newest mural you'll see in town. Gus created the mural with spray paint in 3 days. See it for yourself at Beauty Parade on Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

    comment by: Karen
Roanoke murals are awesome to see... love the mural with girl floating in air... the poetry one was neat!

    comment by: Big Tom
This is great mural art, will be remembered a long time...

    comment by: Bob
This is very expansive mural, covers many walls inside the cradle building. Beautiful art mural, a must see!

    comment by: Dolly
Love the big murals!!!

    comment by: Lisa Patten
I love the mural trail. It's like seeing a gift at Christmas!

    comment by: Ann Barbare
Beautiful mural of Maggie Valley

    comment by: Jennifer
Love your mural artwork! The local references, the depiction of marvelous, beautiful, and colorful nature - landscapes, birds, animals, butterflies, and glorious flowers - invites close study and is very engaging!

    comment by: Carol
Looks like progress being made! Can't wait to see the mural at Joeys.

    comment by: anonymous
Can't wait to see this beautiful mural art in person at Joey's Pancake House

    comment by: Amy
I love your little sneak-a-peek view. Need more...

Share your Comments
and help promote the mural trail!

     AMT @ Stuart, VA

This is a simple popup.