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Dead track worker's art lives on


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Dead track worker's art lives on

By Marlene Naanes, amNewYork Staff Writer

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The artwork of a New York City Transit track worker killed on the job will be on display at

two art shows this fall and winter. Marvin Franklin was a lifelong artist and his art often

reflected life and homeless residents of the subways. Proceeds and donations from the

shows will go to a union fund for widows and orphans.

(handout, Newsday / November 6, 2007)

 

An artist by day and a track worker by night, Marvin Franklin dreamed of retiring to open an art gallery that would raise money for the homeless.

 

But Franklin, 55, would die while repairing tracks at a Brooklyn subway station in April before his dream gallery could help the folks that were often subjects of his paintings. Now his work, which will be shown in two exhibitions starting this Friday, will posthumously raise money for others in need.

 

The shows are also a tribute to Franklin, his friends say.

 

"He was concerned about his artwork, his family and problems like homelessness," said Sam Goodsell, his friend and fellow artist at the Art Students League of New York.

 

Franklin's paintings and sketches, predominately showing subway life as well as the world of the homeless underground, will be on display at Gallery 1199, an art space at the midtown headquarters of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union. The show runs from Friday through Dec. 7. The union is sponsoring the show with the Transportation Workers Union and the New York Transit Museum, which is hosting a second show from Dec. 18 through March 30.

 

Proceeds and donations will fund the transit union's widows and orphans fund.

 

Franklin was killed by a G train on April 29, less than a week after another track worker died on the job. Friends at the Art Students League said Franklin worked overnight shifts at New York City Transit, then went to classes at the league before finally heading home. Before catching a few winks of sleep, though, he'd often take his wife to medical appointments for her multiple sclerosis.

 

Franklin, a Queens native, worked for the MTA for 22 years to pay the bills, Goodsell said, but also was a lifelong and award-winning artist.

 

He earned a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, the transit union said, and began studying at the art league after he was injured on the job 10 years ago. His paintings and sketches reflect an underground life many New Yorkers never see, but one that Franklin treated with great compassion.

 

"He was really in touch with humanity," Goodsell said. "He would bring extra lunch with him to give to the homeless people he met."

 

New York Transit Museum

 

Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn 10 a.m. To 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 718-694-1600

 

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