Pedro Silva, NC Shakespeare Festival’s longest-serving executive director, honored with bust in his memory

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Jim Barnhill is the artist behind the Pedro Silva Bust, commissioned to create a permanent reminder of a man who spent most of his life immersed in theater in High Point.

Pedro Silva came to High Point in 1977 as an actor with the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, later becoming its longest-serving executive director. He was a well-known and respected figure throughout the regional theater community.

“The challenge here was I basically had two photographs to work from,” Barnhill said.

Barnhill met with Silva and used current and older pictures of Silva to create the lifelike image.

“And he was getting his pictures taken by me, just as simple as it was,” Barnhill said. “He was putting forth his best sides, so to speak.”

Silva was pleased and honored by the idea that he was going to be cast in bronze.

“Here’s somebody who invested their life into this aspect of High Point community life,” Barnhill said. “And so they’re sort of paying their respects and appreciation for this man that invested so much of himself into the community.”

The sculptor says the bust also includes a subtle nod to Bard, Shakespeare.

Silva never got to see the finished product. He passed away in June after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The bust was dedicated at its permanent home in the High Point Theater during a memorial ceremony this past weekend in front of a large crowd of Silva`s friends and family.

“He understood what the import was, and I think he was grateful,” Barnhill said. “I think he’s very appreciative of it.”

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