Kevin Soja

After being surrounded by art throughout their childhood, the Friedman siblings—Lou ʼ80 and Paula ʼ82—decided it was time to purchase a canvas of their own.  

Lou and Paula at opening night at Bernay Fine Art

Lou and Paula grew up in Sheffield, Mass. Their late mother, Marcia, was a potter and often found herself on Berkshire’s campus for art events of her own, and it was these visits that introduced the family to the school and led the siblings to enroll as day students. This area continues to feel like home to the family. Warner Friedman, their father, still lives locally and is an accomplished painter who owns a studio on the main street of Sheffield.

A year ago, owners and co-directors Lou and Paula opened the bright and inviting Bernay Fine Art in nearby Great Barrington. With a deep appreciation and keen eye for art and a fondness for the Berkshires, their gallery promises to entice not just the locals, but the growing number of visitors and part-time residents who are attracted to the area thanks to its year-round offerings. 

All alumni gathered for Reunion Weekend this spring will have a special opportunity to attend a reception at Bernay Fine Art hosted by Lou and Paula on Saturday, June 6 from 2 - 4 pm. To read more about Bernay Fine Art in The Berkshire Eagle, click here

What inspired you to open the Bernay Fine Art in Great Barrington, Mass.?

Lou: Paula and I both grew up surrounded by art. While we both started careers in other areas—finance for me and science for Paula — we were always fans of the arts. 

Paula: Almost all of our parents’ friends were artists, as well, so Lou and I have been exposed to the art world our whole life. When I went to Dartmouth, I was a double major (biology and art history), and I studied in Florence for a semester which solidified my love and appreciation for art. Ultimately, I decided that working in the medical field made more sense as a profession, so I got my Ph.D. in molecular biology and now work for Northwestern University in the field of pharmacogenomics. 

I knew that someday I wanted to have an art gallery but with a full-time job. In 2008, I built a website and started Bernay Fine Art as a private gallery in Chicago where I would show work by appointment only. In 2018, when Lou became interested in the idea of opening an art gallery together, we discussed the best location and settled on the Berkshires. We are extremely excited about being back in this area and think that the Berkshires is the perfect place for Bernay Fine Art.

Warner Friedman with Lou's son, Sam Friedman '13, in front of one of Warner's new paintings, "Blue on Blue"

In what ways is your Berkshire experience still present in your lives today?

Lou: Berkshire taught me the value of hard work and to explore my interests. I learned how to study and be organized at Berkshire. I have carried those skills with me throughout my career. I played on Tom Young's baseball teams, and we were taught a life lesson: to measure ourselves by how well we lived up to our own potential: What were we capable of, and did we reach that level?

Paula: One of the most valuable things I learned from my four years at Berkshire is that it is important to be well rounded. I am a scientist who owns an art gallery and in my spare time, I play and watch sports. All three of these activities are very different, but I am passionate about all of them, and I think that is reflective of my Berkshire experience.

What advice would you share with our current Bears?

Lou: Work hard at whatever you love, and keep an open mind toward the future.

Paula: Work and play hard and you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to.