“Empire State Chair” On Display at Sills Cummis & Gross

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 15:57

Walking into Sills Cummis & Gross' lobby these days you will find an amazing display... the "Empire State Chair," a life size chair made completely out of LEGOS, one of a collection of the "Chairs of Inclusion" (lead artist - Stephen W. Schwartz).  The Chairs of Inclusion were commissioned and created to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Jewish Services for the Developmentally Disabled WAE Center.  According to the Center, “the Chairs are objects of art that inspire people to change their perceptions about ability, art and community.  To create the life size chairs, professional New Jersey artists brought their concepts and materials to the WAE Center and worked alongside the Center's artists, who are adults with developmental disabilities. Creating these bright, beautiful chairs was as transformative for the lead artists as it was for the Center's artists.  These chairs are testimony to the talents that often lay hidden in people with special needs.”

Mark S. Levenson, a Chair of the Real Estate Department, and his wife Eta acquired the Empire State Chair of Inclusion in memory of their beloved son Eric Eliezer Levenson.  They wanted to share with the community at large and educate them as to the abilities of people with special needs, and the special work of JSDD.   Levenson stated "JSDD and its WAE Center do important, wonderful and groundbreaking work with people with developmental disabilities.  In his last year of life, Eric had an opportunity to visit the WAE Center, view the chairs of inclusion, and meet some of the artists and consumers who created the chairs.  He also met with the directors and was very impressed with the work they do.   Eric believed strongly that people with special needs should be allowed to participate in community life, just like everyone else, and 'reach for the stars.'  He was also, coincidentally, a Legomaniac of long standing."

Max Crane, Managing Partner of the Firm, said that he was pleased to display the Empire State Chair in memory of Eric and as a reminder that everyone has a special talent.  "The Chair speaks volumes as to the capabilities of those with special needs."

The Eric Eliezer Levenson Foundation for Hope has been created to continue Eric's legacy of commitment to people less fortunate; to helping people achieve a better life for themselves; and to facing their challenges with the support of their community behind them.