Sculptor Syd Ginsberg to show work in Siler City


SILER CITY — Syd Ginsberg, a sculptor with a 77-year career, will be hosted by the N.C. Arts Incubator on May 17. Her work will be shown at the Person to Person Gallery from 6-8 p.m.

Ginsberg has had her unique cast bronze sculptures as well as her drawings shown at many galleries in New York City including the Hudson River Museum, the Art Gallery of Sarah Lawrence College, and the Greenwich Art Barn. Ginsberg lived for 30 years in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where her work was shown at Instituto Allende, Galleria Libertad and Galeria Atenea, among others. She now lives in Siler City.

“I started doing sculpture at 13 so I’ve been doing this all my life,” Ginsberg said. “I get an idea and I start working on it. It’s a conversation I have with the material I’m working with. Everything is a kind of give and take. Often the piece doesn’t end up looking like what I thought it would.”

Ginsberg notes that she’s always been creating things. As a child of the depression, born in Brooklyn, she was always making things because her family was poor. Whether it was sewing curtains or making her own paper dolls, Ginsberg has always needed to create.

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t make things,” Ginsberg said. “It’s part of who I am.”

Ginsberg’s parents emigrated from Europe. Her father deserted from the Russian army, walking across Europe to board a boat to Ellis Island. After a few days there, other family members who had emigrated early were able to help him be released because he didn’t have the $25 required to leave Ellis Island. As he walked to his family’s apartment for the first time, he caught sight of a woman, noting to his family that she would be the woman he would marry. That was Ginsberg’s mother. The couple was married for 58 years, both passing within months of each other.

“That’s a true love story,” Ginsberg said.

As a youth, Ginsberg wanted to get into art school, but her family couldn’t afford any art training. She was eventually able to attend the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art where her WWII veteran classmates assisted in her creative expression and growth. She would work during the days selling clothes or making window displays and in the evenings and the weekends would study sculpture.

“It was a fabulous place to go to school,” Ginsberg said, “with instructors who were beyond belief. They were professional artists.”

Ginsberg found ways to support her art, usually by creating something unique. For example, she noted that she was having a difficult time securing English carving tools. So she and a friend decided to begin making their own. That is when she started “playing” with metal. Not only did she use the tools herself, she was able to make and sell the wooden and stone carving tools.

“Nobody was doing it so we did it,” she said. “I wish I could show you but they were all stolen.”

She describes her time in New York as a marvelous experience, meeting her late husband Dwight, and convening with other creatives in New York’s Greenwich Village. Later, she moved to Mexico where she spent 30 years, noting the rich, creative culture she experienced 6,000 feet up on a mountain. Unfortunately, as Ginsberg’s health declined, her family urged her to move closer to them. Ginsberg moved to Siler City about one year ago. She notes that the welcome she has received here is what has made the move less discouraging.

“Siler City is turning out to be a very nice place with very creative people,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of friends. And a level of excitement [about her show], not from me, but from other people that I’ve never gotten before even in New York.”

“You do it because you do it,” Ginsberg said of her art. “You get up in the morning and you have 15 million ideas about what you are going to do and you just pick one an do it. I’ve always made art. My whole life has been this.”

Syd Ginsberg’s art, which includes cast bronze sculptures, drawings, and paintings, will be on display from 6-8 p.m. on May 17 at the Person to Person Gallery located at 210 N Chatham Ave in Siler City. There will also be live music by Daniel Ayers.

In addition, Chatham County High School Art students will have work on display as entries in the Annual Mary Helen Moody Art Scholarship at that same time in the Arts Incubator PAF Gallery, 223 N. Chatham Avenue in Siler City, administered by N.C. Arts Incubator.

Click here to learn more about the Mary Helen Moody Art Scholarship.

Casey Mann can be reached at

Syd Ginsberg, Siler City, NC Arts Incubator