Fond memories... / Thomas Key (Instructor at Spruill & friend ) Ben was a terrific student of mine!! He took my Comic Book Illustration class in 2003 and loved every minute of it! Of course, HE made it one of my most enjoyable classes and always had the best stories to tell. We even talked of possibly doing a Comic Book/Sequential Art show at the Spruill Gallery sometime in the near future showcasing the cartooning work of local and national artists. I would've loved to have worked on such a show with him. I was stunned by the news and will miss him quite a bit!
The news of Ben's passing is soooo sad... ...In Memory of Ben...
"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose… All that we love deeply becomes a part of us!" --- Helen Keller
Ben was truly a unique, fascinating and amazing individual.... He nurtured many, many people to excel in their part with Art. The arts community has lost quite a leader and proponent of Art.
Over the last couple of months many of us heard about Ben's special plans to have a "Ben Show" at Spruill Gallery (honoring Bens from the past, present, locally, and internationally). "Ben Franklin" was even considering making an appearence!
We, who love Ben Apfelbaum very much, would like to recommend that Spruill management allow us to set a date so that we can more properly & collectively memorialize this dearly departed friend... I personally feel that if he had a last word to all of us, that it would be something like this... __________________________________
"I Am Always With You"
When I am gone, release me, let me go. I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn't tie yourself to me with too many tears, But be thankful we had so many good years.
I gave you my love, and you can only guess How much you've given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown, But now it is time I traveled on alone.
So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must Then let your grief be comforted by trust
We shared a wonderful love of art, So treasure the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away for life goes on. And if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I will be near And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear
All my love around you soft and clear And then, when you come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile and a "Welcome Home".
Time is distance... / Leslie Turner (friend)Read >>
Time is distance... / Leslie Turner (friend)
How awful it is to learn of the loss of someone who was once so dear more than five years after the fact. The gap is wide and the void is painful. How quickly and vividly memories return when those we love have left.
I knew Ben in Montreal during the early eighties and sadly lost touch over the years that followed. From time to time I would google him in the hope of tracking him down or getting some news and then finally this most recent effort so sadly succeeded.
Dear Big Ben
Thank you for your warmth your generosity your glistening (and cutting) sense of humour.
Thanks for "inventing" saltless corn chips and salsa lovingly made with fresh tomato onion and jalepeno pepper chopped and chopped and chopped.
Thanks for the private dinners on Monday nights when your restaurant was closed.
Thanks for smugly pointing out to me that it was actually Leonard Cohen who I had dismissed so rudely and not some news commentator from the CBC (that really made my day).
Thanks for explaining the microbiology of cold rinse dish washing in spite of my incessant arguing.
Thanks for the Sunday night reel to reel movies and your eclectic choice of oldies but goodies.
Thanks for teaching me the value of kitsch (now THAT was an accomplishment).
But most of all dear Ben thanks for being the unique original and special soul you were that touched so many so very deeply. Your are missed old friend...I will NEVER forget you. Close
TRIBUTE TO BEN / Robert Hoffman (FRIEND)
I THOUGHT OF BEN TODAY,AND HAVING LOST CONTACT DECIDED TO TYPE IN HIS NAME AND ATTEMPT TO LOCATE HIM. WASN,T PREPARED TO LEARN OF HIS PREMATURE PASSING.I FIRST MET BEN IN THE MID SIXTIES WHEN HE GAVE ME THE OPPURTUNITY TO WORKED IN A / HAPPENING / PUB COMPLEX HE MANAGED.
VERY CLEAR MEMORIES OF HIS GENEROSITY , GOODNESS AND GIFT OF COMMUNICATION.FONDLY REMEMBER THE STAFF OUTINGS AT THE OLD HOTEL HE RENTED IN MANSONVILLE. MAY YOU REST IN PEACE,BEN .
IF ONE DAY I AM HALF THE MAN YOU WERE I WILL BE QUITE CONTENT .
Ben/ Kim L. (friend)
I walked by a Howard Finster Ben gave me about 30 years ago and as I read some of its Finsteresque rantings I wondered about my very old friend Ben, and thought that maybe I could google him and on some wild chance find an email address to contact him and re-connect. It's been many years since I've seen him. I did google him, only to find out that he died. What a great overwhelming sadness I feel. I met Ben in 1983 (?) when I was about 20 in Montreal, a student, and working at one the many restaurants that had his mark on it. He was a famous figure in the culture there, French and English. Everyone in the downtown scene knew Ben. I was in awe of him. At the time I was a design student at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I got it inot my head that I would do everything I could to get him to hire me as an apprentice. He finally did and we worked together for several years. He took a bunch of us from Quebec to Texas to design and build restaurants there. We were all devoted to him. He was bigger than life, famous for his orchestrated tantrums to get it the way he know it should be, and funny and loyal and a good friend. He was a mentor and formed who I am today. There was such a silly side of Ben, that there were times we could barely go out in public together that we weren't hysterical with laughter at nothing more that a waiter saying "Hi" with an accent. I mourn the loss and regret that I left it too long to re-connect. He was one of a kind. Close
I am sad to here that one of us has passed / Ben Apfelbaum (I share the same name )
Please let me know if I can contribute or loan any of my art to the art show honoring one of my likenamed fellows. Close
It is good to see the photos of Ben. He looks so young, and that he was having good time. I hadn't seen Ben in so many years. I knew him somewhat at Antioch College (I am class of 1963), and much better at the University of Chicago. Ben and I and another friend were roomates for a year. (We did get together in NYC, when he worked at Polo, I think it was. But that's a long time ago.)
It was a difficult time for me--I was in my second year as a medical student at the University of Chicago School of Medicine. I was deciding whether to stay in medicine, or leave to study visual art. I chose the second--I am now a sculptor, and art teacher (whatever that is!). Ben was a really kind and helpful--supportive-- friend. He had the same decency and cordiality, that you can see in the photos of him. I just wish I'd seen him much more, over all these years!
If you wish to contact me, of course please do so.
I plan to tap into this web site again. Its good to look at it--but hard, too.
I'm glad Ben had so many fine people in his life, as you see in the photos.
Infinity/ Susan Calvert (Friend)
It is with deep sadness I read about Ben’s passing. I am new to the area and spoke to Ben for the first time per Marianne Lambert’s suggestion during the Artist Portfolio Review at the Contemporary Art Center last month. During our brief conversation, Ben gave me several business ideas for my art. I thoroughly enjoyed his passionate and volatile personality. The information he supplied was exactly what I needed to know to help advance my career.
I visited the Spruill Gallery for the first time during the “Works on Paper” exhibit in June. Ben was not present. My favorite piece in the show was the infinity symbol sculpture that was located in the middle of the room as you walked into the gallery. I am reminded of it again when thinking of Ben now…the infinite number of lives he touched during his life’s journey. Rest in peace, Ben. Close
Excerpt from Work in Progress Poem for Ben / Teresa Sims (Dear Friend )
So Strong, So Surly, Taken much too early I know he bitched.... He MUST have Complained? As he was led up to that higher terrain. Cuz he had too many plans So many places to see... He even talked 'bout goin' to Mississippi with me!
Excerpt from Work in Progress Poem for my Dear Friend Ben. Teresa M. Sims
i've been nothin / Tom Ferguson (friend)
At first we thought it'd never end
we'd always be this youth
and then we lost an early friend
which shook us to the root
i've been nothin then i awoke
goin back to nothin
somethin i can't stop Close
I miss you already! / Felice Sharp (Friend)Read >>
I miss you already! / Felice Sharp (Friend)
I can't think of a moment in my art career that Ben wasn't there cheering me on. I don't know how I will go forward without him. His encouragement and support made me a better artist and probably a better person as well. I wish to express deepest sympathy to his family and his "running buddy" Marianne. I know this loss creates an irreplaceable void in their lives. The art world has lost a hero and I have lost a friend. I feel we are all challenged to continue to create knowing that his spirit is with us always. Felice Sharp Close
summer camp desk / Cheryl Myrbo (friend and co-worker )
Thank you, Ben, for letting us use your cozy old office space...so sorry about that popcorn smell. I'll miss your helpful words and smiling face. Close
Tribute to Ben / Esther &. Mike Levine (friends)
Ben was a charming, effervescent, irreverent personality. He brought joy to every event and managed to teach you something at the same time. His shows at Spruill were outstanding and provocative. Ben was inveterate collector and always gave an appropriate gift for special events. I cherish the page from an antique Haggadah that he gave to me (Esther) because it told the story of the Biblical Esther. We are so sorry we cannot attend the memorial salute. We will miss him greatly. Esther & Mike Levine Close
Brilliant and a handful! / Sandra Bennett (I hired him for the position of Director of Exhibitions at the Spruill Center )Read >>
Brilliant and a handful! / Sandra Bennett (I hired him for the position of Director of Exhibitions at the Spruill Center )
Susan Loftin, the then Director of Exhibitions for the Spruill Center Gallery was moving back to New York. She knew that I was interviewing candidates for the position and she suggested that I give Ben Apfelbaum a call. Our first conversation, on the phone, was facinating and lasted almost an hour. We made an appointment and in walked this tall man, older than he sounded on the phone, with piercing eyes, strong opinions, an impressive knowledge of the art scene in Atlanta and beyond, experience in organizing and installing exhibitions, and an obvious love and appreciation for the arts and artists - my decision was easy. I called some of the references that he gave me. All echoed my impression. However one good friend candidly replied. He is charming, intelligent, talented, arrogant, opinionated, and difficult. I was to learn that, yes he was all of that. - But he brought a great joy to the process. His exhibits were always interesting, inclusive, and thought provoking. His delight on discovering a new talent was infectious. He was one-of-a-kind Unforgettable.
Always in my heart / Amanda Jones (Through Spruill )
I met Ben in 2000 when I began teaching at the Spruill Center. He was always larger than life and willing to share his experience at any time. I remember some of the exciting stories he told of his career and travels. At the time, I was mainly teaching Soap and while we were setting up for the Gallery Market he told me of his father's experience with creating fragrance oils. I remember his smile as we talked and especially the way his eyes would light up. I brought him soap thereafter on occassion if for nothing but to see him shine over a memory. Whenever I ran into Ben, I always looked forward to hearing more about his experience as an artist and his stories. I'm sorry that I did not hear more. Close
Ben/ Marcia Blake (Friend)
As we approached the gathering for Ben at Maryann Lambert's Saturday night, it suddenly occurred to me that this could be one of Ben's best shows yet: to put out the fictional story of his own demise and have everyone come to a memorial gathering, which was, in fact, the ultimate kickoff party for ACP 2005, Ben Apfelbaum, guest of honor!
I looked inside the house, hoping to see that curly white head bobbing over the crowd and the brown eyes laughing with the best joke yet. But inside there were pictures of Ben, flowers for Ben and stories about Ben--and a big hole, where we wished he stood.
I'll still keep looking for him this coming month: at the openings, lectures, talks and parties. I bet he'll be there.
Marcia Blake Close