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September 8, 2011

"9/11: The South Tower” Now on View at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

“9/11: The South Tower,” the first 21st-century folk art painting acquisition by Colonial Williamsburg’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, will go on view today in the introductory gallery of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

“9/11: The South Tower” is a 2002 oil painting by Virginia Beach artist Betty Herbert that depicts one of the most horrifying moments in recent memory — the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center.

Herbert began painting in 1983 after learning that her husband, Joe Banks, was terminally ill. Although others encouraged her over the years, she basically taught herself to paint and usually works at home alone. Herbert says the creative process possesses her at times: “I simply start and the canvas dictates to me and I listen.”

Oil paintings dominate Herbert’s output while she occasionally works in other mediums. Various techniques support her bold, spontaneous, and direct application of paint. Some pictures incorporate drips, spatters and runs of paint liberally thinned with turpentine. Others derive more effect from impasto — thickly applied paint — which in “9/11: The South Tower” seems to underline the violence of the scene.

Colonial Williamsburg purchased “9/11: The South Tower” in 2010 with funds provided by Dr. and Mrs. T. Marshall Hahn, Jr.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, with more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets in Williamsburg, Va., and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281