Southfield resident Mark Schlussel poses next to his three pieces shown in the exhibit: “Triangulation,” “Song of Color” and “Song of Color Mirror.”

Southfield resident Mark Schlussel poses next to his three pieces shown in the exhibit: “Triangulation,” “Song of Color” and “Song of Color Mirror.”

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Southfield Public Arts Commission presents Jewish American artists’ ‘Perspectives’

By: Kathryn Pentiuk | Southfield Sun | Published May 24, 2024

Featured Gallery (Click to view)

 Pictured is Sarah Rose Sharp’s “Sagittarius Season.”

Pictured is Sarah Rose Sharp’s “Sagittarius Season.”

Photo by Donna Dalziel


SOUTHFIELD — The work of 14 Jewish American artists will adorn the walls of Southfield’s City Hall, 26000 Evergreen Road, until July 31.

The “Perspectives” exhibit is part of the Southfield Public Arts Commission’s quarterly rotation of local artists.

“The artwork is very diverse. We have watercolors and multimedia displays. Then, of course, we contacted the right people to make certain that the food for the reception was kosher, and the entertainment is a young lady performing Jewish American songs, so we try to make certain that everything aligns with the reception, the food as well as the drinks and the entertainment,” Delores Flagg, the chair for the Southfield Public Arts Commission, said of the reception that was held May 16 honoring Jewish culture and the artists.

Michelle Sider is one of the artists featured in the exhibit. Sider uses mixed media to craft glass mosaics and watercolors.

She draws from her experience in a clinical psychology background and art therapy.

“I really value the power of art to not only teach but also express and also to heal. And I’m really hoping that this series can somehow find a path for me to start teaching healing in our community, you know, with learning about different cultures in a real open-minded way and valuing other people’s cultures and just kind of learning through art,” Sider commented. “So that’s been my goal for this series: to try to find venues in places where I can do that. And the city of Southfield is perfect. I grew up in Southfield, and my kids went to school in Southfield. It has always been this multicultural place where people grew up together and went to school together, went to movies together. I mean, Black, white, Arab, Protestant, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, you name it. All these people have been living very well together in Southfield for a long time.”

Four of her pieces are featured in the “Perspectives” exhibit: “Orphans Decree,” “Yemenite Coffee,” “Warrior” and “Women’s Roles.” The four are a part of her “I Am Yemenite” series, which she said combines art, history, culture and faith. She said that each piece is carefully researched and curated to reflect the values, culture and circumstances in Yemen throughout history. Sider said that she spent three years researching Yemen history before constructing “Orphans Decree,” which features ancient pottery that she found on an archeological dig.

“Her headdress and the jewelry that she’s wearing are very much true to the history of the time. The design of her headdress, the types of colors and the smaller designs within it are all true to a young girl that would have been close to Sana’a, which is a little more northern Yemen,” she said.

Another artist featured in the exhibit is Mark Schlussel, a familiar face to Southfield. He and his wife, Rosie, have lived in Southfield for over 50 years. He recalls sitting next to the late Donald Fracassi while they both served as city councilmen in 1972.

Schlussel is a lawyer turned abstract artist.

“In the 1990s, I was a partner in a law firm, Pepper Hamilton, which is a national firm out of Philadelphia. We had a partner’s meeting somewhere in the Jersey Shore. I usually found these events with a lot of lawyers and long agendas distracting. So I was doodling using just an ink pen. And I drew some geometrics, and I would fill in certain boxes and others or whatnot. Somebody came by and said, ‘That’s really nice. Why don’t you try that in color?’ And so I thought, ‘Gee, that’s an interesting idea.’ So I went to the art store when I got home and bought some pencils and art paper and I started doing geometrics, very precise drawings.”

One of the three pieces shown in the “Perspectives” exhibit is “Triangulation,” which he made in 2001 when he first started creating art. Schlussel is also showing twin pieces, “Song of Color” and “Song of Color Mirror.”

He added that he is passionate about abstract art because it “gives people an opportunity to see what they see.” He explained that, oftentimes, people view his work with a completely different meaning than what he found in the same piece. Schlussel explained that he loves seeing how people interpret things differently.

In addition to abstract art, Schlussel has embarked on a project painting 12 over 100-year-old sukkah boards that he inherited from his grandfather to give to his 12 grandchildren.

“As I look from the first one, I started to the ninth, they’ve changed dramatically. They’ve just really evolved. I don’t know how the last three are going to go. But after that, I decided I want to continue to do more of these. Because they’re so interesting. They’ve now become like multimedia, 3D or 2D, not just one-dimensional.”

Sarah Rose Sharp is showing three multimedia pieces, “Sagittarius Season,” “City Girl” and “Heroes Wear Masks.” Sharp learned to sew at a young age and became passionate about fashion design while she was in high school, often making her own clothes. With a background in theater costuming design and a keen eye for intricate details, she is a collector of strange wallpapers, unique fabrics and miniatures.

Sharp added that she is drawn to anything shiny. “I will sometimes say that I’m probably descended from crows, because I just pick up anything shiny.”

Sharp grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and lived in New York for a while. In 2009, after becoming disenchanted by city life in New York, she returned to California for a truck she’d left behind and began traveling to all 50 states. “Then at the end, I moved to the place that I liked the best, which was Detroit and remains Detroit. This place really calls to me, and I love it here.”

Sharp added that she loves Detroit for its strong sense of community and the art scene, which she said is full of artists supporting one another.

“Part of my decision to move to Detroit was that it felt very clear to me that I would have space to be an artist here, which in other cities that have a higher cost of living is just, like, untenable, because you have to work all the time to make money, and art is not the fastest way to make money. Especially the way that I make it, which is really ponderous and slow. But I mean, the people here are incredible. Detroit has so much generosity of spirit. And people here really support each other.”

For more information on the artists featured in the “Perspectives” exhibit, visit and search “Perspectives.”

To learn more about Michelle Sider, visit

For more information on Mark Schlussel, visit

To learn more about Sarah Rose Sharp, visit