published Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Lives and landscapes/Civil War art exhibit at 6th Cavalry Museum

“Lee and Gordon’s Mills” is one of three oil paintings in the exhibit by Durinda Cheek of Ringgold, Ga.
“Lee and Gordon’s Mills” is one of three oil paintings in the exhibit by Durinda Cheek of Ringgold, Ga.
  • photo
    “Civil War Officer” by Carolyn Molder of Marble, N.C.

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    “Tennessee Monument” by Sandra Babb of Ringgold, Ga.


What: "Lives and Lands of the Civil War."

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, through Oct. 26.

Where: Sixth Cavalry Museum, 2 Barnhardt Circle, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Admission: $3 adult, $2 children/seniors.

Phone: 706-861-2860.


In the morning mist or the dusky evening light, the cannons at Chickamauga Battlefield appear to have just been stilled.

It's what the photographer's lens desires to capture; it's what the artist's hand longs to paint.

Those images, of a battlefield silenced 150 years ago this month and of the monuments that echo those bloody days, are among the subjects captured in "Lives and Lands of the Civil War," an exhibit at the Sixth Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.

Whether interested in the war or not, "for anyone who enjoys the area, this is a nice collection of art to represent it," says Durinda Cheek, a Ringgold, Ga., artist who helped curate the exhibit, which includes 47 pieces from 18 artists representing four states -- Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida.

The works of people, landscapes and architecture are represented in a variety of mediums, including acrylic, oil, pastel, watercolor, black-and-white photography, color photography, needlepoint and copper relief.

Chris McKeever, executive director of the museum, says Cheek -- whose father was a member of the Sixth Calvary for which the museum is named -- had thought the building's second-floor meeting room would be a perfect place for an art exhibit, the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga would be an ideal time for it.

"The placement is just perfect," she says, "and the work is beautiful."

Cheek says she and McKeever are "thrilled" with the number of people and amount of work submitted.

"It's a very nice variety, a nice mix of scenes, re-enactors and places," she says.

Among the more unusual entries in the exhibit, according to McKeever, are a needlepoint of Union and Confederate soldiers that, from a distance, looks painted, and a copper relief image of a cavalry soldier.

Some artists were especially excited to be included in the exhibit, she says. One photographer drove through heavy traffic from Smyrna, Ga., to beat the entry deadline last week, she says.

"One of the most compelling photography pieces," she says, is a sunset shot of the battlefield's Wilder Tower, dedicated to Union Col. John T. Wilder and his "Lightning Brigade."

The photographer, Frank Kinser of Ringgold, Ga. --"not per se a Civil War buff" -- says he jogged through the battlefield for several years before deciding to bring his camera. It has drawn him so much since, he is planning to publish some of his work in a book of landscapes.

His submissions in the exhibit, he says, are not just "snaps" but are well-planned.

"I do try to get good photography," Kinser says. "I go there with a purpose."

The exhibit also includes two more of his photographs, one of an old barn on Cherokee Valley Road and one of cannons on the battlefield.

Cheek also submitted three pieces, all oils, that she did specifically for the show.

"I live close to the park," she says, "and I wanted to think of some things that would represent the area."

One of the three, "Lee and Gordon's Mills," depicts the still-standing 1836 mill in Chickamauga, Ga., that was captured by Union soldiers during the war. Another of Crawfish Springs in Chickamauga, Ga., was painted from actual photographs of the spring during the war and was enhanced by seasonal colors, Cheek says. The springs were reputedly the largest source of water during the skirmish.

"It was a significant place during the battle," she says.

Contact staff writer Clint Cooper at or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to my posts online at

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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