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August 13, 2008
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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George Mason University Atrium Gallery

Sept. 2 - Oct. 7, 2008

Reception Thursday, Sept. 4 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

FAIRFAX, Va., Aug. 5, 2008 Fairfax artist Herb Beard paints pictures that offer glimpses into American life in the mid- 20th century. For this reason, some people have likened his work to Edward Hopper’s. But while Hopper’s paintings depicted contemporary life, Beard’s paintings are inspired by his memories of growing up during the 1940s and 1950s in Erie, Pa.

Beard’s solo exhibition, “Painting Through My Rear-View Mirror,” will feature more than 30 acrylic and oil paintings on display from Sept. 2 through Oct. 7 at the George Mason University Atrium Gallery in Mason Hall on the Fairfax Campus. A reception for the public will be held in the gallery on Thursday, September 4 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

In creating his paintings, Beard reflects on times, places and events in his life, and recreates them as he remembers them. He says that he tries not to glamorize or be sentimental in his work, but portrays events that are important to him from the various chapters of his life. His paintings are full of images reminiscent of a simpler time: children making snow angels in a field, an old theater advertising a John Wayne picture on the marquee, old Ford trucks and Christmastime in downtown Erie.

“I like the things that I remember from my youth, like corner stores, farms, country bands and family holidays,” Beard said. “These things are fun to paint and preserve.”

Beard first studied painting while still in high school under Erie-area painter Joseph Plavcan. Plavcan’s mentoring helped Beard win a full scholarship to study art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He majored in Advertising Design, but continued to study fine arts throughout college. After graduation Beard began his career as a graphic and exhibit designer for Proctor and Gamble, and then worked for Lockheed Martin. In 1967, he formed his own design and consulting firm, Herbert A. Beard and Associates. In 1976, Beard accepted a full-time position at the Department of Energy, as chief of exhibit design, and later at the Bureau of National Affairs as director of advertising and promotion, where he was employed until his retirement in 2000.

Since retirement, Beard has resumed the study of painting at George Mason University, working with Art and Visual Technology instructors Walter Kravitz, Paula Crawford and Chawky Frenn. He now exhibits his paintings with professional groups in Northern Virginia and Pennsylvania. In 2007, he had a solo show at the Bayfront Gallery in his hometown, Erie, Pa. Beard also recently displayed his work in the George Mason University Concert Hall during the inaugural Mason Festival of the Arts in June 2008.


This event is FREE and open to the public. The gallery is open to the public on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Mason Hall Atrium Gallery is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall.  Visit

The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.

About George Mason University

George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.