A Visual Treat
By Kathryn Willis
Published in the April 2016 edition of Front Porch Fredericksburg Magazine
Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” He may never have been to Chatham. But, as witness to his sense that our present is imbued with our heritage, Chatham Manor cannot be outshone.
With heritage comes stewardship, and the Friends of Chatham are faithful to their charge. Enlisting local artists to express their visual moment of the extraordinary mansion and grounds seems a natural partnership—and one that began last October. On a perfect Saturday, twenty artists recorded their reflections of Chatham’s sense of place.
The day-long fall plein air event resulted in several artworks that will be displayed at Federal Hill, the Hanover Street historic home of Charles and Stephanie Maurer. The artwork display is an added visual treat of Historic Virginia Garden Week, hosted in Fredericksburg by The Rappahannock Valley Garden Club.
The Maurers have completely restored their noble residence, Federal Hill, and will welcome visitors to tour its gardens and interior on Tuesday, April 26. Ticketholders can not only visit the home, but also view the artists’ twenty-four paintings and photographs, which are hung on its wall. The acrylics, watercolors, and photographs, captured on that glorious October Saturday, all have Chatham Manor as their subject. During the Garden Week—April 26 tour, visitors are encouraged to note their favorites among the artworks, for on May 1, they will be given the opportunity to bid on and buy their selections. That Sunday, at 2 PM, a Garden Party at Federal Hill will begin with a preview of the artworks, and the art auction will follow at 3. Tickets for the Garden Party and Auction are $35, and must be purchased in advance.
There is an ancient and meaningful tradition of provenance—establishing by verified interaction that an object is associated by direct connection to its source of origin. Both national significance and local heritage imbue Chatham Manor with that sense. Perhaps that is the appeal of these regional artists’ works. For in such art, historical significance is reinterpreted through a contemporary discernment. With this artwork, provenance connects threefold: historical significance, contemporary appreciation, and philanthropic investment. A grand way to “play it forward.” Faulkner would smile.
May Day Garden Party and Art Auction Tickets
Tickets for the Friends of Chatham May Day Garden Party and Art Auction are $35 per person and are a:vailable at the Fredericksburg Visitors Center; by mail to PO Box 3882, Fredericksburg VA 22402; and online.
Fredericksburg Garden Tour Ticket Information
Tickets and Tour Headquarters:
$45 per person. Available on tour day only at Tour Headquarters Lower Lobby, Mill Race North, 725 Jackson Street: cash, check or credit card. Local brochures and guidebooks also available.
$35 per person. Available at the following locations: Fredericksburg Visitors Center, Spotsylvania Visitors Center, Salon 730, Lydia’s, and Whittinghams, and online. Cut-off date for advance ticket sales at local locations is Monday, April 25, at noon.