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Builder's original works of art to help commemorate Battle of Fredericksburg's 150th anniversary
Artist Pamela Patrick White depicts Clara Barton tending wounded at Chatham.
PAMELA PATRICK WHITE/LARRY D. SILVER COLLECTION
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Each work was chosen for its depiction of life, death and struggle during the four critical days in late 1862 that made "Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!" the rallying cry of Union troops who, 16 months later, repelled Pickett's Charge in the Battle of Gettysburg.
As Silver developed his collection, a Fredericksburg-area advisory group worked for several years to provide historical perspective and balance to the endeavor.
Those advisers were Greg Mertz, supervisory historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park; Ed Watson and Mary Helen Dellinger, both formerly of the regional museum; local historian Jervis Hairston; art professional Ken Haack; and Bernadette Bruce of the Silver Cos.
Watson, the museum's director emeritus, urged people to be sure to see the unique exhibit.
"The museum's showing of these Civil War commemorative paintings is significant for the role that Fredericksburg played in the war," he said in an interview. "These paintings dramatize this conflict and its effects on the city and the surrounding counties in a way that only original works of art can do."
The museum is partnering with the University of Mary Washington to bring the paintings, which are on permanent display at the Silver Cos.' office in Florida, to Fredericksburg. The works will return there after the exhibit closes on Jan. 1.
In a statement, UMW President Richard V. Hurley thanked Silver for honoring the battle's 150th anniversary, calling it a "wonderful exhibit."
Hurley lives in a historic house on Marye's Heights that figured importantly in Dec. 13 fighting and was the residence of the area's delegate to the Virginia secession convention in early 1861.
"The UMW campus, particularly the president's home Brompton, uniquely occupies ground that was pivotal to the course of our nation," he noted. "Therefore, we have a special role to play in such efforts to reflect on our history and to educate for future generations."
The Silver family has a long tradition of local philanthropy.
The Silver Foundation has helped build community centers, medical facilities, and adoptive-care homes. Carl Silver, Larry's late father, gave millions of dollars to build the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic, the largest of Virginia's 47 free clinics.
The Silver family also donated the land on State Route 3 for the Cancer Center of Virginia.
Several of the artists who created works in Silver's collection will take part in a signing event at the museum on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to meet them.
Prints, giclees, and commemorative posters will be available for purchase during the exhibit, with a portion of proceeds being donated to the museum.
The cultural center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. For more information on the exhibit, call Ellen Killough at 540/371-3037, ext. 134, or visit famcc.org.
Clint Schemmer: 540/368-5029