New art gallery to open with exhibit of Salem native’s work

SALEM – A new art gallery will feature about 80 pieces of Dan Brobander’s works when it opens May 9, according to curator Lawrence Mikol.

The “Studio Gallery” is located at 379 E. State St.

A Salem native, Brobander was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was born in 1933. He spent most of his childhood in Salem before his family moved to Chicago.

His website,, says he was shy in his early years, read a lot, and developed a fondness of Russian literature.

He also developed a natural artistic talent that he pursued at the famous Art Institute of Chicago in 1953, excelling in abstract expressionism and “taking delight in the eccentricities of the masters such as Dali, van Gogh, and Ce’zanne.”

He opened several studios and settled in New York where, in 1975 he met and married his wife, Phyllis Sira, an accomplished interior designer.

Mikol manages Brobander’s collection which is owned by his wife said the Studio Gallery opening is aimed at publicizing his work.

“The idea is to show the work, protect and save it and make him known to the public,” Mikol said.

“Some of the works will be for sale.”

Brobander created thousands of works ranging from oil crayon sketches, latex enamel on masonite, and large scale acrylics on canvas, according his website and Mikol, who also attended the Art Institute of Chicago, said Brobander “worked in abstract to realistic … kind of a mix of everything … later in life he went to abstract.”

Mikol has served as the curator in several art studios and moved to Salem a few years ago.

He only wanted to be known as an artist so Brobander rarely spoke about his cerebral palsy and his website notes that in 1987 and 1988 he won the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation Grant.

He also worked for several years with the Cultural Council Foundation and completed work for the New York Foundation for the Arts and acted as an instructor for the Montclair Art Museum.

According to his website, “One of his mural projects on display in Independence School at Independence Plaza, New York city, was unfortunately condemned after the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center due to atmospheric pollution from lead, asbestos and volatile organic compounds.

Shortly thereafter, according to his website, Brobander’s own “condition became an increasing hindrance, most likely due to the inhalation of dust and debris from 9-11.”

Brodander continued drawing in his sketch book even after he was unable to paint and he died in February 2011 at 78.

Mikol said the gallery will be open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and other days by appointment.

“For the opening we’ll be there more days, probably on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and Saturday for a couple of weeks after that … and then open for the two days.”

For more information of the Studio Gallery, call 330-337-6991.

Larry Shields can be reached at