Sanctuary 25th Anniversary Mural by Artist Seth Prestwood

Now in its 25th anniversary year, The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee is home to 11 elephants retired from performance and exhibition. Though the elephants’ habitats are closed to the public, a few miles down the road, the Elephant Discovery Center in downtown Hohenwald offers visitors hands-on learning opportunities to better understand how elephants shape our world and how all of us can play a role in their conservation.

In addition to interactive educational exhibits, The Elephant Discovery Center is also home to eye-catching works of art by regional artists, including a life-size elephant sculpture made of upcycled tires by artist Alex Lockwood, a life-size elephant puppet by artist Jamin Orrall, and most recently, a vibrant mural depicting elephants in their Sanctuary habitat by artist Seth Prestwood (assisted by Callan Downing).

In celebration of The Sanctuary’s 25th anniversary, Prestwood’s mural uses color and absence of color to weave the story of the elephants’ past and present. “My goal was to convey an appreciation of the elephants and their sanctuary habitat by intertwining them, using grayscale in the landscape that transforms into vibrant color within the elephants. This creates playful movement, depth, and emotion as well as a timeless effect similar to a vintage black and white photograph” said Prestwood.

Prestwood has worked for several production studios, his paintings have been featured in Julia Martin Gallery and Track One, and his murals are featured across Nashville, most notably on Charlotte Avenue as part of the Off the Wall mural project. Prestwood said it was an honor to show his appreciation for the elephants and The Sanctuary through the mural at the Elephant Discovery Center.

The Elephant Discovery Center is part of Nashville’s Big Back Yard, a natural watershed region anchored by 100 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway and made up of 12 connected communities with populations under 5,000 people. Located in downtown Hohenwald, the Elephant Discovery Center is open Thursday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. by appointment. Please call 931-796-6500 x109 or email Joy Owens at in advance to check availability and schedule your visit. The mural is viewable 24 hours a day outside of the Elephant Discovery Center. Please note: The elephants' habitats are closed to the public.

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