MEET MEMBER BEVERLY BERNSON: A RARE FIND!
by Sue Wurster
“I guess I’ve always collected art,” Bev says about her favorite pastime. After studying at Colby Sawyer Jr. College, Vesper George School of Art, and then Mass College of Art, she became a graphic artist. She then worked at Beth Israel Hospital and the now defunct Newton Times. Her work included quite an array of creative art projects in Newton, and she was a founder of the New Art Center. All along the way, she was exposed to art, artists, and dealers, curating shows and buying works.
In the early 1960’s, Bev started Any Old Thing, an antique business she undertook with her long time friend Lorraine Altschuler. “We were friends since junior high,” she says. “We did not have a shop but, rather, traveled around New England and New York City, renting space at antique shows and, at times, other shops,” she says. “It was a wonderful life.” Sadly, after 29 years in the business, Lorraine passed away, and Beverly carried on alone. In all, Any Old Thing lasted 45 years.
Now, Beverly’s home in Newton houses her extensive and extremely varied collection, all placed with care for maximum enjoyment. A few years ago, Bert Yarborough, an artist and professor at Colby Sawyer where Bev is on the President’s Council, saw her collection and was intrigued. When the college decided, then, to build a new art center, he asked if she would be interested in having works from her collection be the opening show in the gallery. “I was flattered and eager to get it underway,” she says. “I had loaned works to other shows in the past—but never something like this.” The show, entitled Inner Visions, features work by self-taught and mainstream artists. At the moment, Yarborough is working on the catalogue for the show which will open on October 13 and will run until early December. “Very exciting!” Some of the pieces to be mounted in that exhibit include…
Beverly is also involved in Gateway Arts, a workshop for adults with disabilities, where she sits on the advisory board and helps with fundraising. “The artists’ lives are changed profoundly—socially as well as artistically—and the interaction is a joy for all,” she enthuses. “We have a store on Harvard Street in Brookline Village where the artists sell their work. It is a truly wonderful place which gives the artists an opportunity to earn money for their work and a reason to be deeply proud of what they do.”
When it comes to pride, Bev is quick to point to her family—husband (Bob), 2 sons (Peter and Teddy), 1 daughter (Julie), 2 daughters-in-law, 2 granddaughters, 1 grandson…and another grandson on the way.
As if work and family were not enough to keep Bev busy, she has also devoted a good deal of time and energy to tennis, playing regularly since her 20s. In her 40s, she started playing team tennis (doubles only) and kept at it until she was 70. “I still play, all year long, two to three times a week at the same club—the names keep changing. Now it’s Boston Sports Club in Newton. We play outdoors in the summer.”
After retiring from team tennis eleven years ago, Bev started taking courses at BOLLI. She has taken two courses each semester and has attended several of the winter and summer lecture series as well. In addition, she is now the art editor for the 2018 volume of The BOLLI Journal.
“BOLLI is an amazing place,” Bev says. “The people who give their time organizing activities, teaching courses, giving programs, and doing all the behind-the-scenes work that makes it all happen are truly wonderful and greatly appreciated. BOLLI is a gift to all of Brandeis’ surrounding communities.”
But, of course, it takes interested and committed members like Bev to keep it an amazing place!
There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better! I hope you’ll leave a comment for Beverly in the box below. It means a lot to each of our profiled members to hear from others. (And I’d love to hear from you about YOU!)