Long before Robin Markowitz became Director of Rose Squared Art Shows, she exhibited her distinctive jewelry line in them. Signature “Robin” pieces from her company, SDJ Designs, combine bright metal and fused glass into something personal for the wearer.
Robin earned a Bachelor of Arts in art and history at the University of Buffalo. Finishing off a clay project in a glass studio there ended up being a serendipitous introduction to that medium.
“I fell in love with glass,” she says. “The ability to create all these magnificent colors and creations enthralls me to this day.”
The love of glass was put on hold for a few years as she worked for the Paine Webber Mutual Funds as a Risk Analyst. After that, she transitioned to a three-year contract position as Director of the Face to Face Program at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace.
“That was a great job at a really important time, the height of the Balkan War,” she says. “My program hosted meetings that brought together policy makers, journalists, NGO’s and decisions makers to discuss the important topics of the day.”
Afterward, Robin returned to creating glass and designing jewelry, teaching herself to be a metalsmith to create the jewelry designs that were in her head. Along the way, she and her husband, David, raised three children — Seth, Danielle and Joshua, all adults today. In 2009, Robin combined her artistic expertise with her business experience as Director of the Bethesda Row Arts Festival, the beginning of a successful career managing all aspects of running a significant arts event.
Robin became Festival Director at the Rockville Arts Festival in 2011; that one is close to home as she resides in the Maryland suburb. She also manages An Occasion for the Arts, an extravaganza of art, music and more held annually the first week of October in Colonial Williamsburg.
“I know what it takes to put on a well-presented event,” she says. “No detail is overlooked, whether it be booth setup and breakdown, coordinating volunteers or parking.”
In October 2020, Robin was humbled to become Director of the Rose Squared Art Shows — four nationally acclaimed fine art and fine craft shows held in three northern New Jersey parks from May to October.
Howard and Janet Rose founded Rose Squared Production, Inc., in 1984, naming it for Howard’s grandmother Rose Rose. While the former potters and retired educators still remain involved in the business, Robin runs day-to-day operations, mindful of the opportunity she’s been given.
“It’s an honor really to be entrusted with carrying forth the tradition established by Howard and Janet 40 years ago,” Robin says. “I have worked in all facets of the industry and have extensive experience working with artists, sponsors and the administrative side in dealing with city and county officials.
The shows, co-sponsored with the Essex County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, transform parks in Brookdale, Anderson and Brookdale into outdoor galleries. Many of the artists who exhibit their work at the shows held in May, June, September and October have returned for decades.
Selected artists must undergo a rigorous juried screening process and additional vetting to ensure that all curated artwork is original. No buy-sell has ever been allowed.
“All the good things about showing and attending a Rose Squared show will stay the same,” Robin assures. “The stewardship of the shows is with somebody who completely understands the needs of the artists. Everything artists like about the shows as artists is still in place.”
Artists will benefit from Rose Squared moving to ZAPP, the custom application management and jurying system that has become the industry standard. Rose Squared refreshed its logo and will launch a user- friendly website in 2022.
Questions about Rose Squared Art Shows should be directed to Robin at [email protected].