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Heart of Downtown Charleston WV Public Art Tour
Item 16 of 28
This is a contributing entry for Heart of Downtown Charleston WV Public Art Tour and only appears as part of that tour.Learn More.
Mortar Man is one of Charleston's most beloved works of public art — and it's also the city's smallest! At only four inches by two inches, Mortar Man is tucked between two buildings. The artist is P. Joseph Mullins, a Charleston native most famous for his design of the West Virginia Veterans' Memorial. Mullins was completing some renovation work on a building in 1994, when he took a break to eat lunch. While on his break, he used some excess concrete to sculpt Mortar Man. The tiny figure's head and upper torso emerge from the wall, making it appear as if the little man is climbing out of the building. It took three years for a policeman to notice Mortar Man, but once they had, Mortar Man became a celebrity. Mullins has embraced the public attention the sculpture attracts. Speaking of the work in 2016, Mullins said, "anytime you make a piece of art, you have to have some mystery and some unanswered questions, so that the audience… the viewer can bring their own experiences to that piece."1

Mortar Man.

Sculpture, Artifact, Carving, Toy

Brick, Property, Facade, Real estate

A guide to finding Mortar Man.

Motor vehicle, Tire, Mode of transport, Automotive tire

1. Charleston Treasures: Meet Mortar Man, 13WOWK. December 10th 2016. Accessed December 16th 2020.

P. Joseph Mullins, The West Virginia Encyclopedia. June 13th 2017. Accessed December 16th 2020.

Recco, Rebecca. Mortar Man, Atlas Obscura. Accessed December 16th 2020.

Theresa. Charleston's Mortar Man: Weird Wednesday, Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State. April 3rd 2019. Accessed December 16th 2020.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Office of Public Art, Charleston WV. Accessed December 16, 2020.

Caudill, Catherine. Charleston Gazette-Mail. Accessed December 16, 2020.

The Squire. Accessed December 16, 2020.