The Perry Rosenstein Cultural Series

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Remembering Perry Rosenstein

Perry Rosenstein, Founder and President of the Puffin Foundation, Ltd., passed away in Teaneck, NJ on April 3, 2020, after a brief struggle with the COVID-19 virus.

A successful self-made businessman who was born into a family of Polish immigrants and had grown up in poverty in the Coops cooperative in the Bronx, he remained passionate about assisting have-nots in all walks of society, but especially artists and arts organizations that were often excluded because of “race, gender or social philosophy.” It was in this context of arts—the creation of a major exhibition of Spanish Civil War posters “Shouts from the Wall”—that Perry first befriended ALBA in 1994 and became a partner in shaping our education and cultural programs.

Together with his wife, Gladys Miller Rosenstein, and son Neal Rosenstein, Perry graciously supported a wide range of ALBA’s activities—from the annual ALBA/Susman Lecture series to traveling exhibitions of Children’s Art in Wartime; from ALBA’s innovative Teaching Institutes focusing on anti-fascism to the prestigious ALBA/Puffin Prize for Human Rights Activism, which has honored Bryan Stevenson, Baltasar Garzón, and the Arizona-based organization No More Deaths, among others.

Perry’s Foundation, established in 1983, has also supported environmental organizations (notably the Teaneck, NJ Conservancy); the Puffin Activist Gallery at the Museum of the City of New York and exhibitions on the history of labor in New York and the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Another area of Perry’s interest was progressive media outlets, such as the Type Media Center, Democracy Now, The Nation magazine, Jewish Currents, and In These Times.

What made Perry’s contributions unique was the range of his vision. He welcomed new ideas and new organizations, even as he cherished his left-wing background and heritage. He was one of a kind, a man with a broad outlook for the future and a strategy to accomplish it. His legacy will endure in the good work of his Foundation.