By Jo Strausz Rosen

On a recent escape to Sarasota, I visited the Sarasota Museum of Art and took time to experience the creative exhibits. One that touched me deeply is a traveling exhibit by author and artist, Maira Kalman and curated by her son Alex Kalman who documented their mother’s (grandmother’s) life story from her journey to America from Belarus. In this touching and loving homage to the unbreakable family matriarch, we learn about Sara’s life and can think about what makes a life worthwhile and what is the importance of documenting family history, no matter how hard the story is. Sara Berman’s closet is a collection not only of her artifacts and clothing, but her story, painted from photographs of Sara taken over the years. As onlookers we feel the strength she had in living her life, her way. The exhibit has traveled around the country, after first being exhibited in a little museum called MMuseumm, in an alley in lower Manhattan. Then it moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“Today Sara’s closet makes it way around the world, telling a small and monumental story. How a Life is formed. How meaning is found. How mistakes are made. And how we have the courage to go on.” Maira Kalman

The exhibit touched my heart deeply and I highly recommend seeing it at this gem of a museum. The book, illustrated by Maira will be added to my collection of Kalman stories that have been inspiring me for decades. Enjoy this short Drexel Interview video from 2019 with the author and her son.

Shabbat Shalom.

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