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In-Person: DWELL TIME by Rosa Lowinger

Please join us for an in-person event celebrating the release of Dwell Time by Rosa Lowinger! For this event, Rosa will be joined in conversation by Gina Frangello. 

Please note: Pre-registration for this event is required. By pre-registering, you are verifying that you are fully vaccinated and will wear a mask throughout the entirety of the event.


What Kirkus describes as a "masterful revelation about life and art imitating each other in maintenance and repair" in a starred review, Dwell Time is an illuminating debut memoir by one of the few prominent Latinas in the field of art and architectural conservation; a moving portrait of a Cuban Jewish family’s intergenerational trauma; and a story about repair and healing that will forever change how you see the objects and places we cherish and how we manage damage and loss.

Dwell Time is a term that measures the amount of time something takes to happen – immigrants waiting at a border, human eyes on a website, the minutes people wait in an airport, and, in art conservation, the time it takes for a chemical to react with a material.

Renowned art conservator Rosa Lowinger spent a difficult childhood in Miami among people whose losses in the Cuban revolution, and earlier by the decimation of family in the Holocaust, clouded all family life.

After moving away to escape the “cloying exile’s nostalgia,” Lowinger discovered the unique field of art conservation, which led her to work in Tel Aviv, Philadelphia, Rome, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Charleston, Marfa, South Dakota, and Port-Au-Prince. Eventually returning to Havana for work, Lowinger suddenly finds herself embarking on a remarkable journey of family repair that begins, as it does in conservation, with an understanding of the origins of damage.

Inspired by and structured similarly to Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table, this first memoir by a working art conservator is organized by chapters based on the materials Lowinger handles in her thriving private practice – Marble, Limestone, Bronze, Ceramics, Concrete, Silver, Wood, Mosaic, Paint, Aluminum, Terrazzo, Steel, Glass and Plastics. Lowinger offers insider accounts of conservation that form the backbone of her immigrant family’s story of healing that beautifully juxtaposes repair of the material with repair of the personal. Through Lowinger’s relentless clear-eyed efforts to be the best practitioner possible while squarely facing her fraught personal and work relationships, she comes to terms with her identity as Cuban and Jewish, American and Latinx.

Dwell Time is an immigrant’s story seen through an entirely new lens, that which connects the material to the personal and helps us see what is possible when one opens one’s heart to another person’s wounds.

Rosa Lowinger is a Cuban-born American writer and art conservator. The author of Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub (Harcourt, 2005) and Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure American Seduction (Wolfsonian Museum, 2016), she is the founder and current vice-president of RLA Conservation, LLC, the U.S.’s largest woman-owned materials conservation practice, based in Miami and Los Angeles. A fellow of the American Institute for Conservation, the Association for Preservation Technology, and the American Academy in Rome, Rosa writes regularly for popular and academic media about conservation, the arts, and Cuba. She holds an M.A. in art history and conservation from New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and divides her time between Los Angeles and Miami. For more information, visit

Gina Frangello’s fifth book, the memoir Blow Your House Down: A Story of Family, Feminism, and Treason (Counterpoint), has been selected as a New York Times Editor’s Choice, received starred reviews in Publishers WeeklyLibrary Journal, and BookPage, and has been included on numerous “Best of 2021” lists including at LithubBookPage, and The Chicago Review of Books. Her sixth book, on Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, is forthcoming from IG Publishing’s “Bookmarked” series. Gina is also the author of four books of fiction, including A Life in Men and Every Kind of Wanting, which was included on several “Best of 2016” lists, including at Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books. Now a lead editor at Row House Publishing, she also brings more than two decades of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review, and the Creative Nonfiction Editor for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her column, “Not the Norm,” runs on the Psychology Today blog, and she runs Circe Consulting, a full-service company for writers, with the writer Emily Rapp Black. Gina can be found at

Accessibility: This event is hosted at the bookstore, which is a wheelchair accessible space. Masks are required. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To request ASL interpretation for this event, please email no later than 14 days before the event. For other questions or access needs, please email

Event date: 
Monday, October 23, 2023 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: 
5233 N Clark St
Dwell Time: A Memoir of Art, Exile, and Repair By Rosa Lowinger Cover Image
ISBN: 9781955905275
Availability: On our shelves recently
Published: Row House Publishing - October 10th, 2023