News & Resources

The Circle Center Story

Jul 18, 2023

Jay Burkhardt

Mike checks out mural progress.

Work progresses across a big canvas.

Artist Nico Cathcart adds her signature.

Every mural in RVA comes with a story, but this one literally has lifetimes of stories behind that wall.

Let us share it with you (and maybe you can help us tell many more).

On the western facing side of Circle Center Adult Day Services, near Willow Lawn Shopping Center, is a two-story, 75-foot-long mural called “Age and Grace.” The four people — Mike, Elizabeth, Banoo, and Winston — are real people from Richmond who have spent time at Circle Center.

The mural, which has already won a National Mural Award, was initially an idea from Circle Center CEO Heather Turbyne-Pollard, who saw the large blank wall as a great spot for a mural. Through generous donations from Altria and The Community Foundation, we were able to make it happen.

RVA-based muralist, Nico Cathcart, wanted to feature Circle Center participants in some way and collaborated with local photographer Caroline Shelnut, who takes portraits of older adults wearing fun, different costumes. In this case, Caroline chose Renaissance as the theme, as she says, “because people of all ages were represented in paintings back then. Artists saw beauty in aging and had a desire to capture it.”

For nearly three weeks, Nico climbed on her lift and painted Mike, Elizabeth, Banoo, and Winston from Caroline’s photographs, slowly bringing “Age and Grace” to life.

Nico and Caroline infused this mural masterpiece with a shared love and respect for the power of growing older. “Together, Mike, Elizabeth, Banoo, and Winston represent the beauty and value of our elder community. They have so much to give,” says Nico.

“It’s simply breathtaking in its size and in how well Nico captured their personalities and the hopeful spirit of Circle Center,” says Heather Turbyne-Pollard, Circle Center’s CEO, every time she gives a tour.

“Once I learned about Circle Center and witnessed the dignity and respect with which the staff treat everyone who attends their programs, I was inspired,” says Nico.

Circle Center is a nonprofit, community-based adult day care center dedicated to the well-being of older adults and their caregivers. Nearly 98% of our participants have Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive impairment. Through engaging and varied activities, one-on-one health monitoring, support groups for participants and family caregivers, our staff does everything we can to make healthy aging possible to reduce stress for caregivers. The foundation of our work is the belief that every human being deserves the opportunity to enjoy companionship, feel a sense of purpose, and be treated with dignity and respect. We aim to provide this opportunity, alongside comprehensive person-centered care, to anyone who can benefit from our services – regardless of their financial capacity.

You can help Circle Center continue its 48-year mission with a gift today »

Your contributions enable older adults to add new elements to their stories every day. Right behind this wall.