Mosaic Installation in Honor of the Late Rita S. Berkowitz

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Attorney Bernard Berkowitz financed an art installation in memory of his late wife, Rita

Recently, Bernard S. Berkowitz, senior partner at the law firm of Berkowitz Lichtstein Kuritsky Giasullo & Gross LLC, and his family, financed an art installation in memory of his late wife, Rita S. Berkowitz, at the Wyckoff Public Library. The Library held a ceremonial unveiling of a triptych of five-foot by three-foot ceramic-tile mosaic panels in its Labyrinth Garden. This permanent outdoor installation, entitled “A World of Potential: Imagination – Exploration – Communication,” was created by nationally prominent mosaic artist Rhonda Heisler to recognize the many contributions a library makes to its community.

“It has been an amazing journey to be involved in this once-in-a-lifetime project,” said Wyckoff Library Director Mary Witherell. “Rhonda’s work is magnificent, the crowning glory of our Labyrinth Garden.”

The product of more than a year of planning, the commission sprang from the long association Rita Berkowitz had with the Friends of the Wyckoff Library. Each year, she faithfully purchased a membership and was frequently their largest donor. Library staff also remember her fondly from her regular visits to the library.

When Rita passed away in July 2012 at age 83 following a battle with cancer, the Friends of the Wyckoff Library ran a respectful obituary of her in their newsletter and sent a note of condolence to Bernard, Rita’s husband of 36 years. He was so touched by the gesture that he reached out to Friends treasurer Beth Wharton with an offer to fund a library project in Rita’s memory.

“Ever since it was first built in May 2012, I have felt that the Labyrinth Garden—though beautiful and meditative—was incomplete,” said Witherell. “When I heard of Rita’s interest in art, I thought long and hard about what sort of outdoor art might provide the finishing touch to this space and reflect Rita’s interests in the arts, and after I discovered Rhonda Heisler’s work, I knew this was the answer.”

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Alan Levine