Linda and Mark Silberman have stepped up, concurrently, to keep our community viable and relevant as top-tier leadership volunteers for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta.
Mark heads RefrigiWear, the market niche leader for quality cold weather gear and active wear, more specifically, gloves, headwear, footwear and insulated clothing for industry workers and athletes exposed to freezing temperatures.
They relax at home among Western art and Linda’s own colorful paintings. Their Sandy Springs home serves as a luxurious sanctuary with tons of personality that fits their lifestyle, interspersed with Miro, Matisse, Madonna, and Mark’s memories of Tonto. Bouquets of flowers, both fresh and recreated, portend the Hollywood alabaster glamour of the “wow” master bedroom.
Linda recalled, “We moved here 11 years ago from Crabapple, which seemed, at the time, like the Land of Oz.”
Read about their purposeful lives and surroundings.
Marcia: How has being chairman of the board of the Federation impacted you and vice versa?
Mark: It is a two-year commitment for which I was well-prepared, having worked in the Federation system for 10 years. I knew I would, at some point, take a leadership role. This is working with 29 board members and the CEO. I am fortunate that my family and business partner is running the day-to-day operations of RefrigiWear to allow me the time to insert myself wholeheartedly in the Jewish world.
We recently returned from the General Assembly Federation Mission to Israel, which was an inspiring confluence of Jews from all over the world (1,200 from North America plus 1,000 Israelis). We toured the new five-story “Start Up Nation” technology repurposed building, as well as the Knesset, where we discussed Israel’s relationship with the Diaspora. We were the first group to visit the U.S. Embassy with Ambassador David Friedman in a private ceremony.
Linda: We enjoyed the beach, food, and cosmopolitan flair in Tel Aviv, too, and the new Sarona Market (similar to our Ponce City Market) in Jerusalem. Let me add that at the Embassy visit, there was such tight security that we could bring only our passports — no cell phone, no purse.
Marcia: Elaborate on your mission as chair of Women’s Philanthropy, a three-year commitment.
Linda: We focus on engaging different sectors of women in new ways. We are doing a series of pop-ups, like visiting the Ben Massell Dental Clinic, the Breman Museum, InterfaithFamily, Jewish Fertility Foundation, and more. We want to appeal to all age groups and show the amazing work of Federation. We also had a fabulous mission to Cuba this past spring.
Marcia: What are some of the most unusual pieces you have collected?
Mark: I saw the Alexis Silk gold glass figure in someone’s office and had to have it. I was fascinated that it was made from one piece of Murano glass. Silk is at the frontier of the conceptual expression of figurative glass in the human form. She created it freehand while the glass is hot without a mold.
I lean towards Western art. When I have a cocktail here at the bar, “The Race at Waldo Canyon” by David Bradley, amuses me by conjuring up Tonto racing his horse. The Amy Ringholz “Hansen” (Jackson Hole, Wyo.) is the first piece we bought as a couple.
The “Silent Warrior” bronze might be my most prized as it was the first piece done by Barry Henderson, a real estate developer who transitioned into sculptor. Let’s just say it has appreciated in value.
Linda: In the contemporary Western vein, we collect David DeVary, who has work displayed at the Booth Western Art Museum. We met him in Sante Fe, N.M., and liked that he creates portraits, but holds back the full-face view, usually the eyes. On the one in the living room entrance, he added an orange flower to the cowboy hat to make it special for us. He declared, “Something is missing,” before we walked out with it.
Sentimentally, we blended in my mother’s collection of a Calder, Miro, and Matisse.
“Madonna,” in the lower-level rec room, is wild and unexpected for us.
Marcia: Linda, what inspires you to paint?
Linda: Here you see my intense bold flowers. I originally started with oil, then changed to acrylics or a combination of both. I also paint horses, which is spiritual for me as I lost a very dear family member who loved horses. That somehow helps me channel her.
Marcia: How do you use your home to entertain?
Linda: We make tons of pizza in the outdoor oven and salads to serve around the pool. We are very casual. We reconstructed the pool to include Pebble Tec and a shallow ledge.
The dining room seats 16. The black velvet fabric contrasts the white vases on the table top.
The round eat “in kitchen” table is custom constructed of burnt wood. The chandelier is from B.D. Jeffries.
Marcia: Last word.
Mark: Remember our Federation is not only about donations, but touching people by keeping our Jewish community viable and relevant. In terms of accepting a demanding leadership role (laughing), it’s sometimes about who asks you to volunteer.
And, in terms of art, I’d say, ‘Never meet the artist, as you’ll always end up buying the art!’