CLINTON — About nine years ago, Phyllis Kent was going through her mother’s shed when she found a large rolled-up scroll.

When it was unfurled, she realized it was a mural depicting the sweep of America “From Sea to Shining Sea.”

The 16-foot-long, 4-foot-wide mural was painted by Clinton resident Viva Chamberlain in 1976, and it’s on display at the three-day Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair, which continues Saturday and Sunday.

Chamberlain, who had four children, was a Clinton resident who taught eighth grade at Clinton Elementary School. After she retired, she pursued painting and gave lessons.

She lived to be 102.

She was 87 when she painted the mural, which is displayed at the Clinton Historical Society. The mural depicts the history of the United States and was painted to celebrate the country’s bicentennial. There are lighthouses along the coast of Maine, bull fighters down by Texas and a giant hay bale in the middle of the country.


No one asked Chamberlain to paint the mural, said Buddy Frost, the historical society president. Chamberlain did it because she wanted to, he said, and the painting was presented at the United Methodist Church.

The historical society is displaying its wares this week during the Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair, in a building along the edge of the fairgrounds. The mural is in a display case inside the building.

Many visitors see the painting and say they remember taking painting lessons from Chamberlain when they were young, Frost said.

“We were very pleased to have it,” said Frost, adding that he and Chamberlain were friends. The historical society said people notice new details in the painting every time they look at it.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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