Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL

Story and photos by Kanan Abramson

The River Town Lounge on Orchard Street, NYC, was the last place I would think of as an attractive place to set an art exhibit. But, this didn't halt artist Marilyn Silverman of Brooklyn to display her charcoal drawings, featuring celebrity portraits.

As I walked into the lounge, I had the feeling that I hit the wrong place to host an exhibit. The place was darkened and many patrons and guests filling every little space. Only then did I notice the small frames on the red brick walls, illuminated by spotlights, contributing a mysterious atmosphere to the place.

Then along came Marilyn, smiling and excited. "It's my first exhibit," she said. "I can't believe that so many people are absorbing my work. And more than that -- they appreciate it!"

Her face was sparkling in the darkness. Marilyn, a colleague and a staff writer with the family of The Jewish Post, became the star, the main attraction, of this glamorous, cultural event. Overnight, here she was, the center of interest of so many people, who jammed the place for after hour drinks and dinner and pushed their way in order to have a glance at her artistic work.

Walking among the people, one could see them pointing at the drawings, recognizing the featured celebs. "Here's John Travolta," "Isn't it Leonard Bernstein?" or "Look how beautiful Liz Taylor is in this drawing," were only a few of comments made by excited people, both young and older.

The idea of setting the exhibit in the lounge was conceived by Marilyn's manager, Saan Corley, who believes in the talents of the self-thaught artist.

"I enjoy capturing not only their physical resemblance, but also the mood of the subjects of my drawings, their words, their feelings, their essence," says Marilyn, who was praised in recent years for her literary work. But," she adds, "nothing compares to the feeling of having an exhibit, where people approach me with their comments and questions."

Marilyn, who was quoted on the cover of a book by attorney Alan Dershowitz, a quote which appeared also in the New York Times, likes to enjoy the two worlds of her creativity -- art and literature, for which she receives considerable and impressive recognition, even though she has acquired no formal training.

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