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Media Advisory

Date: February 15, 2008
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970 (before Feb. 19); Steve Simon, 240-567-7952 (office), 240-461-0333 (day of cell)

Montgomery College to Dedicate Renovated Art Gallery in Honor of 98-Year-Old Artist
Longtime Student Sarah Silberman Donated $500,000 to Improve Facility for Future Generations of Artists

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2008 – 2 P.M.
Montgomery College-Rockville
Art Gallery, located on the 2nd floor of the Paul Peck Art Building
51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Maryland

Classically trained at two of the nation’s top art schools, Sarah Silberman became an unofficial artist-in-residence and mentor to countless students when she began taking Montgomery College classes at the age of 71. She continued to travel back and forth to the College’s Rockville Campus for close to 25 years, building upon an extraordinary artistic career that has spanned nearly a century. On Tuesday, February 19, Montgomery College will dedicate its Rockville Campus art gallery as a lasting legacy to Silberman, who generously donated $500,000 for its complete renovation.

Funds from her gift went to the installation of new floors, walls, and lighting in the gallery. A portion was also used for new seating and display cases on the first two floors of the Paul Peck Art Building. The cases will feature Silberman’s art, plus works created by faculty, students, or community artists.

In high school, Silberman began taking summer painting and drawing classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Chester Springs, Pa. Every day as she passed by the sculpture studio, the instructor invited her to join his class. Finally, she relented and discovered a true passion for working in clay and creating sculptures. She continued her studies at the PAFA in Philadelphia and later at the Corcoran College of Art, when she and her husband moved to Washington, D.C.

After her husband’s death, Silberman found Montgomery College and its community of talented art faculty and students. Over the course of nearly 25 years at the College, she took the same core art classes over and over again, adding up to more than 150 courses. In 2004, the College held an exhibit of Silberman’s sculptures—the first-ever solo exhibit by a student in the gallery that now bears her name—and in 2006, she was awarded an honorary associate’s degree at the College’s commencement ceremony.

While still a student at Montgomery College, Silberman funded two endowed scholarships in ceramics and sculpture. She chose to remain anonymous to the recipients, knowing that those students could be her classmates. Recently, Silberman decided to remove the anonymity and allow current, past, and future recipients to learn the name of their benefactor. The two current recipients will attend and speak at the dedication ceremony to share how her scholarships have helped them further their arts education.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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