We are Here: Love Never Dies
A new book by
Jane Smith Bernhardt
Click for Details
Available locally at:
for Occupy Together
Visit Spiritual Sustenance on Twitter
Click to hear Jane's Interview with
Lea Hill on the Spirit Connection
Saturday June 11, 10-7pm
Outside, On Breathtaking Marblehead Neck
|Jane offered a presentation|
and book signing,
of her book We Are Here.
Copies of a first draft
of Jane's latest offering,
The Sweet Conversation
Click to hear Jane's Interview with
Lea Hill on the Spirit Connection
|Jane's podcast with Camille Adair |
was picked as a favorite on the
Click to listen.
Jane is featured in a promo clip for the Ambercare Hospice program
A Year of Solace
produced by Camille Adair
watch it on the Youtube station Solacewisdom
Amesbury News article featuring
Jane's Hibakusha Peace Project Show at the
Amesbury Friends Meeting House
Click to open the PDF file of
Jane's article in the February 2011 edition of Personal Excellence
Read Jane's Interview
with Pat Lynch,
Host of Speak Up!
These photos are from an exhibit of giclee reproductions of the portraits
and stories of the Hibakusha Peace Project Exhibit in
Hiroshima's International House on August 7, 2010.
The event was a memorial program to commemorate
the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima City,
which also featured the premiere of
David Rothauser's film: Hibakusha, Our Life to Live.
Now a permanent copy of the exhibit resides at the
World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, along with translated messages
from Americans who have viewed the portraits and stories
and responded with their heartfelt wishes and prayers.
Photo of Hiromu Morishita standing
beside his portrait.
Jane addressed a
Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Saturday October 16, 2010
The Gift of Hospice: Opportunities at the End of Life
Presented by Ambercare Hospice
Listen to Jane's interview on Strategies for Living
September 14, 2010
Jane's Interview with Camille Adair
Host of Life Long Practice...Living and Dying
Listen to the Podcast
Jane Bernhardt is featured in
John Walters' new book,
Roads Less Traveled: Visionary New England Lives.
Jane is featured in a new book:
He Blew Her a Kiss: Inspirational Stories of Communication From Loved Ones Who Have Passed,
by Angie Pechak Printup and Kelley Stewart Dollar
Listen to Jane Bernhardt's interview
with Jeff Ferrannini
Host of Planetary Spirit
From August 5, 2010
Audio courtesy of ETIN
August 8, 2010
Read Jane's Columns on the
Spiritual Media Blog
Interview with Jane Bernhardt
The Great Awakening
Read Jane's Article Try on Hope
July Issue of Leadership Excellence
Download PDF - Article is on Page 16
Listen to a great interview with
July 15, 2010
Read Jane's Article
Life after death: Love never dies
The Washington Post
Read Jane's Column on
Type "Jane Bernhardt "
in search bar.
Speaker in Psychology of Creativity PSY 245
April 9, 2010 - Friday
Wadleigh Library Conference Room
All are welcome to hear Jane speak on the creative process.
Her latest book is
We Are Here: Love Never Dies.
She has traveled extensively with her visual art exhibits and original solo dramatic performances. Finding in art a pathway to the heart and spirit, Bernhardt uses creativity as a vehicle for human transformation.
From Auschwitz to Hiroshima, from Russia to our inner cities, teacher, author, portraitist, and actor, Bernhardt’s art has taken her all over the world. A third generation portrait artist and seasoned actor of stage and television, graduating from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, she poignantly combines her portrait skills and acting in projects such as the Hibakusha Peace Project.
|2006 Remarkable Women |
of New Hampshire Magazine
Photo by John Hession
|Actor on the Barricades|
Jane Bernhardt: A multi-faceted talent who expresses her political and spiritual beliefs in her work. She combines her skills in acting and portraiture by creating exhibit/performances on subjects like Japanese A-bomb survivors, clients of an inner-city food program
and people who have risked their lives
Bernhardt's first career was in acting; her All-American good looks led to steady work in national TV ads for toothpaste, shampoo, diapers, fast food and many other products. “I made more money then than I have ever made,” she says, “but I didn't attend
drama school to sell products.”
After many years as a portraitist, she began developing the combined works she is known for today. Her next work will be about
the Middle East. Ultimately, she hopes to span the globe with pieces that reflect a new paradigm of peace and justice.
Listen to an hour long interview
Listen to Author Jane Bernhardt's
Interview September 20, 2009
on Planetary Spirit with Producer/Host Jeff Ferrannini
Lecture / Presentation ~ Dec 1, 2006
Artist promotes peace in portraits
by Pamela Mcloughlin , New Haven Register Staff, August 25, 2004
MILFORD- The portrait artist's images of Hiroshima survivors
are meant to engender peace.
The artist, Jane Smith Bernhardt, recently shared those images with an eerily similar group: Families of 9/11 victims who also see peace, not war, as the way to fight terrorism.
Bernhardt, also an actress, visited the Promoting Enduring Peace headquarters on Beach Street, where her latest venture, The Hibakusha Project, had been on display in early August. Bernhardt, who lives in Massachusetts, created the series of collage portraits after traveling to Japan and listening to the stories of atomic bomb survivors, known as The Hibakusha. Her thinking was that if people could put a face to the suffering, they'd find it harder to tolerate proliferation of nuclear weapons. She hopes the images will serve as a deterrent, the way sharing details of the Holocaust is intended to deter.
"The stories are heartbreaking, but these are the fruits of nuclear weapons," Bernhardt said.
Many of the survivors in her portraits were very young on Aug. 6, 1945. Many saw relatives die or become maimed before their eyes. Many people, on fire, jumped into the river to douse the flames and drowned. Others lingered, ill from radiation.
"Everyone talks about how they walked and walked and kept walking over dead and wounded bodies, and one woman said that even now, when she walks barefoot, she can feel the bodies," Bernhardt said. "The extraordinary thing about Hiroshima is they don't talk about revenge. They say 'no more.' "
That desire for peace - and disdain for revenge - is also what binds the group of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who, as part of an event called the Stonewalk, are walking from Boston to New York City and recently stopped in Milford. Walk organizer Dan Jones said Tuesday via cell phone that the walkers were in Darien and hoped to reach the New York City border sometime today.
Everyone in the group lost someone in the terrorist attacks - either on an airplane or in the Twin Towers. For Jones, it was a brother-in-law.
"Our families died publicly, and we received a lot of comfort and support," Jones said. But in other parts of the world, where civilian casualties constitute 80 percent of deaths in war, there's little comfort and support for those families.
The group's symbol for the walk is a 1,400-pound memorial stone to unknown civilians killed in war. Jones said the group hoped during the journey to bear witness to the "tragic reality" of civilian casualties, and without becoming political, hope the toll be a prime consideration in United States' policy-making decisions.
Bernhardt noted that when The Hibakushas visited Ground Zero, they wanted to be escorted there by members of Peaceful Tomorrows. "There's a natural connection," she said. The Japanese survivors wanted the 9/11 families there to help send the message of peace, not retaliation or escalating hatred, she said.
Bernhardt wound up speaking very little about her own exhibit during the evening she spent with the walkers at Promoting Enduring Peace after they had walked 14 miles that day in the hot sun. She opened the floor to them and what followed was a river of testimony about how members of the group had become important to one another, especially in healing.
Loretta Filipov of Massachusetts, whose husband, Alexander, was killed on Flight 11, says of her fellow walkers, "It's my new best friends that I never wanted to have."
Jane with a group of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
News article written by reporter J.C. Lockwood
Merrimack River Current, February 20, 2004
Beverly artist draws on the horrors of Hiroshima for a fiery,
chaotic take on survivors' stories
Jane Bernhardt is no stranger to politics and politically charged art. The Beverly resident is an actress and a painter - and a peacenik and social justice activist who's been in the trenches for years, in the protest lines, in the soup kitchens and in-your-face. She began to combine art and activism more than two decades ago, believing that social transformation "begins with a conversion of the heart," something better achieved with human contact and expression than reason and cold fact. Bernhardt's "conversations" over the years have led to three major exhibits since the 1980s, each one exploring political or social issues, but trying to get beyond the familiar polemics, to the people: One looked beyond the Cold War to the people of Russia; another at the "faces of resistance," examining issues of civil disobedience; the third was a series of portraits of the "dinner guests" at a Malden soup kitchen, people who have been marginalized.
Her latest exhibit, which opens next week at Beverly Public Library, is called The Hibakusha Project. It is a series of collage portraits of atomic bomb survivors, accompanied by their stories and poems. It is also, she says, an opportunity to reflect on the memory of Hiroshima with the hope of transformation. Bernhardt, who is also an actress and graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, was in Hiroshima for two weeks in August, during the annual ceremonies commemorating the bombing that brought World War II to an end, killing more than 300,000 people - 70,000 of them instantly. "It was emotionally difficult," she says, at first making a comparison to the concentration camps at Auschwitz, where she performed "Love, Etty, "the story of a Dutch victim of the Holocaust. "No," she says, "it's not worse than Auschwitz, but it's similar in its unbearable qualities, in that range of darkness that's so intense that you're afraid that you will not be able to find your life again after you come home. It changes you.
Bernhardt was born in New Canaan, Conn., an affluent bedroom suburb of New York. In 1971 she graduated from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. She found plenty of gigs - like one-day roles on "One Life to Live" and other soap operas, and piles of work pitching products like Ultra Brite, WetOnes, Dentyne -but not the kind of work she wanted. "I made more money then than I ever have since," she says, "but I didn't attend drama school to sell product. I wanted to be a real actress. I was happy I could do it and make some money doing it, but it's not what I signed up for." Bernhardt decided to leave the acting life behind, for a while at least, and moved to the North Shore - first Manchester, then Beverly, where she has lived for the past 10 years. She got married and settled in for the maternal long haul. With a family, theatrical work was pretty much out the window. "I never felt in the position that I could be faithful to the rehearsal schedule," she says. For creative work, Bernhardt turned to painting. She hadn't done much in the way of visual arts, but both her mother and maternal grandmother were portrait artists, and before moving to the North Shore she had begun taking painting classes at Silvermine College of Art. "And loving it," she says. "I began making the shift inward."
Bernhardt first started thinking about a project involving the Hibakusha, as survivors of the atomic bomb are called in Japan, after reading about a United States plan to develop and deploy a new generation of tactical nuclear weapons that would be three times the size of the weapons dropped on Japan. "That resonated in me in a deep and disturbing way," she says. And she had heard the Hibakusha speak in the past. "That's something you never recover from," she says. "It's the most heartbreaking, unfathomable, grotesque reality. Each one bears scars on the flesh and speaks of the unspeakable. "She knew she wanted to do something, and she knew she could not approach the project in an abstract way: Her work requires a personal connection. "I need to absorb the spirit of the person before I can paint them," she says. "I have to let them inhabit me." She also knew that time was running out. The Bomb dropped nearly 58 years ago. Soon the time will come when there are no Hibakusha left to tell their stories. In the spring she put out feelers to peace groups like the American Friends Service Committee, and within weeks she had gotten hooked up with names and addresses and a translator. Soon she was at the original Ground Zero. "It came together so easily," she says. "This confirmed to me that this was a calling." Every picture tells a story.
The work - some of which was done in Japan, some recreated from photographs after the artist returned home - is not traditional portraiture by any means. It is collage, using layers of handmade papers and paint and creating a fiery, chaotic background from which the portrait, done in pastel, emerges. There are 15 pieces in all. "She's very good at capturing something of the spark of a person, at finding the spirit and soul of the person," says Nancy Philo Oleson, owner of HyperbOle Gallery in Newburyport, which will host The Hibakusha Project after it closes in Beverly. "That is what makes her such a good portrait artist." But the art is only part of the exhibit, which will include a number of journal entries and text, and poetry from survivors. The reception, which takes place from 7to 9 p.m. Feb. 3 in Beverly, will be a ceremonial opening, and will include live performances - including an original musical score by Geta Bro - and readings by Bro, Bernhardt and actor-musician Paul Brotchie. There will also be an invitation for meditation and messages, which will be returned to the survivors and released into one of the rivers of Hiroshima.
Jane teaches and lectures on a variety of topics including spiritual guidance, portraiture, resistance and social transformation. Contact Jane for details.