December’s Portrait of the Month was created at Lantana Middle School in Florida, as part of a series of workshops we held in the Palm Beach School district. We were impressed with the work of the young students, who connected with the process and the subjects. We were struck by the sculptural quality of this portrait. It makes the subject appear to be carved out of a block of stone rather than layers of black and white pastels.
We had a wonderful experience related to Simon Gelbart. For several years, The Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha, Nebraska has included a Memory Project workshop in their Art and the Holocaust program. One day, Sina Blanker, a survivor from the Omaha community, saw an exhibit of student portraits and was thrilled to recognize one of them as her father, Simon Gelbart!
It is very moving to hear about these family connections. We learned that Simon, a respected shoemaker at home in Poland, brought his shoe-making tools with him to America and occasionally repaired, but never made a pair of shoes again. His son David donated his shoe-making tools to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which you can see here.