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April 12, 1991 - Image 78

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-12

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Portrait of Sharon Zimmerman, New Director Of The JCC Museum Gallery.

Staff Writer

hat do you
do when your
most precious
avocation sud-
denly becomes
your full-time vocation?
You might do as Sharon
Zimmerman does — smile a
lot and try not to rub it in to
your friends.
"It's a dream come true,"
laughs Ms. Zimmerman, di-
rector of the Janice Charach
Epstein Museum Gallery,
under construction at the
Maple-Drake Jewish Corn-
munity Center.
"For years, I used to envy
people who got to do what I
get to do now," she said.
"Art used to be an impor-
tant, yet separate part of my
life until a few years ago."
Ms. Zimmerman, who joins
the JCC from the Detroit Ar-
tists Market, where she was
the gallery director since
1986, is responsible for
gathering works of art and
organizing art exhibitions
for the new museum, which
is scheduled to open towards
the end of July.
The museum, which is be-
ing built through a grant
from Natalie and Mannie
Charach, a Detroit couple
whose artist daughter,
Janice, died a few years ago,
will expose the Jewish com-
munity to the best of Jewish
"The museum will not
only showcase art," Ms.
Zimmerman said. "It will
also be a place in which to
educate people about Jewish
Ms. Zimmerman is
meeting with an exhibition
committee to organize a
schedule. The first exhibi-
tion, which will open some
time this summer, will
showcase Jewish themes in
various media from statewide
Jewish collectors.
As an avid arts collector
and long-time arts patron,
it's no accident that Ms.


FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 1991

Zimmerman's resume is
sprinkled with part-time,
and occasionally, even non-
paying art experience.
"I'm pretty typical of most
frustrated artists," she said.
"I can't make art very well,
but I have to be around ar-
tists and art for myself and
for my well-being."
Consequently, a visit to
Ms. Zimmerman's home in
West Bloomfield is a lot like
touring an artist's show-
"Once I started going to
art openings around the city,
I had to have a rapport with

"For years, I used
to envy people who
got to do what I get
to do now."

Sharon Zimmerman

the artists," she said. "I
decided. to start buying art
and focus on local artists."
Many original paintings
and sculptures of Detroit ar-
tists like Gary Mayer, Gilda
Snowdon and Jim Stephens
adorn her walls and shelves.
Her taste runs from very,
contemporary to very old.
"I grew up in a home filled
with art and artists," she
said. "My grandfather was
an antiques dealer, so I was
always around unique
pieces, learning about
Over the years, Ms. Zim-
merman, who grew up
around the Livernois section
of Detroit, has gotten to
know these and other area
artists personally.
"I've always had a soft
spot for this city," she said.
"There's something honest
and gritty that comes out of
the people because of the
blue-collar nature of the
In 1990, Ms. Zimmerman
chaired "Art for Life," a
survey exhibition of Detroit
area artists that raised
money for three local AIDS
related organizations. From


Photos by Glen n Triest


Sharon Zimmerman at home.

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