MARION, Va. — So if you think “Kinks” when you hear the name “Lola,” think again.
Lola’s on Marion’s Main Street has nothing to do with Ray Davies and The Kinks, which scored a hit with a song called “Lola” in 1970.
In Smyth County’s courthouse town, Lola’s is all about what used to be the mystery artist of Marion’s Lincoln Theatre: Lola Poston.
She’s the lady who was paid $50 per painting to make the murals on the walls of the Lincoln in 1929.
“She was kind of a hidden figure in our history for several years,” said the Lincoln’s executive director, Brian Tibbs, 35.
Yet, since 2016, Lola’s name has been used for the Lincoln Theatre’s gift shop and concession area, located at what was once a jewelry store.
“Now, it’s a pretty lively little spot downtown,” Tibbs said. “We sort of serve as the town’s unofficial visitor center because we tend to draw a lot of folks.”
And, Tibbs said, those folks want to know more about the smiling and leggy artist depicted in a large photograph at Lola’s.
“Lola has sort of become a staple of the history of the theater now,” Tibbs said.
In turn, Lola’s has become a popular part of theater history tours as well as women’s history, Tibbs added.
“What’s funny is, locally, a lot of people are connected to Lola through extended family,” Tibbs said. “When we first opened, a lot of people would come in and say, ‘Lola was my great aunt.’”
“I kind of made a joke that she’s related to everyone now that she’s famous. Turns out, she had a huge family in the area. So she practically is related to everyone.”
All of Lola’s murals in the theater were restored during the Lincoln’s renovation more than 15 years ago.
“They’re all originals,” Tibbs said. “They’re just painted on canvases and mounted on wooden frames just like a regular canvas.”
One picture depicts the British surrendering to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, and another remembers Civil War soldiers.
Currently, Tibbs is producing images of the murals — and the glyphs inside the Lincoln Theatre — for a coloring book slated to be released in time for the 90-year celebration of the theater on June 29.