JB Berkow: Artist’s Vitae

JB was born in 1949 and was raised in an environment that fostered her exceptional talent.  At Walt Whitman High School, which was the number one rated public high school in the country, she was allowed to take both her elective classes in art.  Her high school education was so advanced that when she reached college, it was a repeat of what she had already learned.  After two years of attending Maryland Institute College of Art, American University, and the Corcoran School of Art, she decided to quit and just learn by doing.

She had her first one-woman exhibition when she was only twenty-one years old.  Since then, she’s had many one-woman shows in New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Florida.  Her work, though, does not easily fit into an established mold.  She paints realistically, yet unlike much hyper-realism being done today, her brand is not cold and analytic.  It imbues warmth and energy.  There is also a sensuality of line that runs through all her paintings.  Some of this is due to the subject matter that she chooses to paint, such as lush scenes of Giverny, Tuscany, and Versailles.  She is particularly well known for her scenes of Venice.

Missing her first love in subject matter, the female figure, in the 1990s JB started sculpting. Because of the lack of fabrication studios on the East Coast of Florida,, she had to have her work cast in Sarasota. This hardship for her and many other artists living in our community led her to eventually found the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts, which is a 15,000 square foot, nonprofit, 3-D fine art fabrication facility center located in Lake Worth Beach, Florida in 2015. Currently the center’s operations are concentrated around all things glass, but eventually JB plans to add a small metal foundry and stone carving at the center. Since founding the Benzaiten center JB is now casting her work exclusively in glass.  She also took up flameworking in 2021.  So instead of just casting her work, JB uses paint and flameworked items to embellish her works making each piece a one-of-a-kind creation.


Dr. Walter Persigatti, the curator of all the artwork in the Vatican, was visiting America to raise money for the completion of the restoration of the Sistine Chapel.  While in the States, Ms. Berkow, who is also a gourmet chef, was asked to entertain him in her home.  Of course, it was an honor, but what was an even bigger honor was what Persigatti wrote in her guestbook: 

“It is incredible how your spirit and soul can be expressed in such different ways and with such powerful explosions while at the same time with such gentle introspection.”