Ralph E. Sandler
Ralph E. Sandler was born in Stockholm, Sweden. When he was 1 1/2 years old, his mother and father move to New York City where he lived as a child. He made many trips back to Sweden to see his cousins who lived in Stockholm and developed an early love for travel.
After an aborted college stint in engineering, Ralph joined the army and served 2 years as a 2nd Lieutenant; after he was discharged he went back to college to pursue a major in English and minor in History at New York University.
When Ralph graduated from NYU, He moved to Madison, Wisconsin and completed a master’s degree in English and Theater at UW Madison. While in grad school he became an actor in the theater with roles like Big Jule, “Guys and Dolls,” Shylock, “The Merchant of Venice”, Earl of Gloucester, “King Lear”, Frosch, “Die Fledermaus.”
For five years he taught English at UW Madison and Dickenson College. He then became Assistant Director for the Wisconsin Union Theater and then Program Director. After 10 years at the Union Theater, Ralph accepted the job of Executive Director for the Madison Civic Center where he presented the arts for 91/2 years. His legacy included commissioning new works, bringing artists for residencies in Madison area schools, and the presentation of experimental and avant garde works.
After almost 20 years as a presenter of the arts, he moved first for a stint in New York City, and then as a consultant in Washington D.C. for the National Endowment of the Arts.
While living there, in 1992, Ralph suffered as unexpected and devastating stroke which left him with a speech disability known as aphasia. In November he moved back to Madison to be near family and friends and begin a long process of rehabilitation.
During rehab for his speech impairment, Ralph began a third career as a photographer. As the son of an amateur photographer and the nephew of the Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, the medium comes naturally to Ralph as a way to express himself to continue his involvement in the arts.