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Woodbridge artist unveils work saluting Sept. 11 victims

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2002 10:00 pm

Lisa Goldman, of Woodbridge, enjoys collecting art and craft scraps. She figures they might come in handy for later art collage projects.

Within a few days after the Sept. 11 attacks, Goldman, sad and confused like most Americans, needed to create for the sake of catharsis.

She rummaged through her collection of odd remnants in search of inspiration for her artistic healing. Not only was Goldman mourning the loss of some 3,500 fellow Americans, she had just discovered an old college chum and his young family had perished on one of the terrorized airplanes.

A search through her garage produced, among other things, 300 buttons, red ribbon and a garish oil on canvas painting her neighbor had gladly given her some time back.

The finding of copious buttons turned on the creative light bulb in Goldman's mind.

She decided the little clothes fasteners would serve as icons for humankind. For every life lost, or thought to be lost, she would attach a button.

The funky old canvas, replete with large swatches of bright colored oil, was the perfect foundation.

Lisa Goldman's art project
Lisa Goldman's art project, created with buttons, expresses her feelings about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (Jennifer Matthews-Howell/News-Sentinel)

"I hate to say this, but the canvas was waiting for this project," Goldman said.

The red ribbon served as the stripes of the American flag, which is prominently displayed in the upper left corner of the collage.

She spent a month gluing buttons of every order on the canvas, buying the bulk of them from Wal-Mart since the original 300 buttons weren't, unfortunately, nearly enough.

Each button reminded the artist of the life lost.

"It became a healing ritual," she said. "Each button was a person and I could acknowledge each one. It's just so hard to imagine how many people that is."

She could, however, imagine the loss of at least four of the victims: The Falkenberg family.

Charles Falkenberg was traveling with his wife, Leslie Whittington, and their two children, Zoe and Dana, on American Airlines Flight 77 which ended when it crashed into the Pentagon.

Goldman said this about her friend and his family: "Old friends. Brilliant minds. Loving hearts. Young lives with so much potential."

Goldman finished the collage in October and promptly displayed it at Temple Israel in Stockton. She has since relocated the abstract artwork to the Lodi Community Art Center at Lakewood Mall.

An artist most of her life, Goldman recently became a member of the art center and works part time at St. Joseph's Hospital as a pharmacy technician.

The collage is available for purchase with a $911 price tag.

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