Women’s History Month in the Arts | Paula Stern

Image left: “Serenity” bronze sculpture with patina by Paula Stern

Happy Birthday Paula! I know Paula Stern as a wonderful sculptor, but she sure got here by an unusual route. The Honorable Paula Stern, Ph.D., is both artist and business woman and so much more. She is former chairwoman of the United States International Trade Commission. She was first named as a commissioner by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, and appointed as chair in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, a position she served in until 1986. Her high-powered life has led her to many corners of the world, and this is evident in her work. She created a bust of Nelson Mandela which was given to the South African Embassy, and she will soon be giving her bust of President Bill Clinton to his library.       
Paula loves to experiment with a variety of mediums and produces works in bronze, terra-cotta, and objet trouvé (mixed media found-objects). Much of her figurative work is in the proud tradition of bronze sculptors dating back thousands of years.
April 9, 2020 formal presentation of the bust of President William Jefferson Clinton at the Clinton Presidential Library has been postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several of her works have been displayed in the U.S. Embassy and Residence in Nicosia, Cyprus as part of the U.S. State Department’s Art in the Embassies Program. Others have been showcased in cultural centers, including her Othello and Desdemona in the lobby of the Shakespeare & Co Company Theater in Lenox, Massachusetts and her Let’s Dance, which is displayed permanently at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival facility, a National Historic Site in Becket, Massachusetts.

Stern has been recognized with the “People’s Choice Award” by the Washington Project for the Arts, Corcoran for her bronze, Attitude. The Berkshire Museum selected three of her works for its 2018 show, Art of the Hills. Her, Quartet, was featured in Hillyer Art Space, Washington, D.C. in the July 2014 show, Flesh & Bone.
On her 75th birthday (as exposed by being on the cover of this weeks Washington City Paper) we wish her many more years of creativity and community activism. I cannot think of a better way to end Women’s history month than to celebrate a woman with such a variety of extraordinary talents!
“My art is the tangible manifestation of a deeply conscious effort to capture personality, corporal existence, and human vigor with my hands. I shape sculptures of the human form that my mind’s eye sees. After completing a sculpture through this very private experience, I place it on a pedestal for the world to observe, daring to expose my personal effort to public viewing. As a sculptor, my purpose is to translate my visual image of a face, body or fragment of the human form into a tactile, beautiful object with which the viewer can interact. I want the viewer to touch, pick up and/or walk around my artwork. That action tells me I have impacted the viewer, thereby justifying the uncomfortable act of unveiling my art and personal side in public. The spirit behind my work is to honor creation.”    … Paula Stern
Creatively Yours,
Margery E. Goldberg