By Sabina Mollot
It was four years ago when the National Arts Club was making far more headlines for a scandal, with its longtime president O. Aldon James replaced over allegations of misusing club money and terrorizing anyone who crossed him, than for the arts it was supposed to be championing. At that time, a longtime active member, Dianne Bernhard, replaced James as president of the club. After serving for one two-year term, she opted to take the position of director of fine arts, which, she explained at the time, was to bring the focus back on the arts, and to get the social club taken seriously by the art world.
Since then, to say she’s achieved her goal would be an understatement, with the club’s five galleries, which are open to the public, running different shows each month, and at least a few times a year with works by high profile contemporary artists or old masters. There are also monthly Sunday salons with guest speakers that tie into the shows and the club is in the process of finding a new artist in residence. The club’s programming hasn’t gone unnoticed by art professionals and collectors, and club membership has even seen a boost because of it.
“It’s brought more young people in and it’s brought more art-minded people,” said Bernhard.