Remembering Mike

The Media Arts Council is mourning the passage of one of its most dedicated and singular servants: Mike Berman.

Michael J. Berman
June 20, 1937 – January 4, 2021 (Age 83)
Media, Pennsylvania

Michael J. Berman Memorial Fund

Donations to the Michael J Berman Memorial Fund will be used towards photography exhibits and activities. Thank you for honoring Mike’s immeasurable impact on MAC by contributing to one of his most passionate endeavors. 

Media Arts Council a U.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and as such all gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.  

Of course, Mike was much more than just the sum of his many roles in the organization; he was family to us, and we mourn and celebrate him as such. Simply put, there would be no MAC without Mike Berman’s dedication, energy, prudence, and love. Love is a critical component in any summary of his work with our organization. Mike loved the arts – he was a talented photographer and mentor to many photographers, a sensitive and knowledgeable curator, a soulful music enthusiast, and overall supporter of the craft and creative forces of art in all of its forms. Mike gave MAC tough love during challenging financial decisions, steadying the ship with honesty, caution and great care at every turn. Most of all, Mike Berman showed love through his tireless, selfless commitment to being a team player in every sense of the expression. Down on his hands and knees, Mike – a former home inspector, among numerous other vocations in his rich life – supervised the unglamorous installation of cove moulding to bring the MAC gallery up to code in its first year. He showed up at every concert that we ever hosted, manning the donations bucket at the back of the room and helping to set up and take down the concert seating and lighting that we put together.

Mike served with distinction as a Board member, Treasurer, PhotoEx Chair, Library Exhibit Chair, gallery guardian and so much more. In each of these roles, Mike was all in. Through every facet of his involvement, Mike created an abundance of warm and wonderful memories with everyone here at MAC and each person even tangentially connected with the organization. Mike helped to pour the foundation in every sense, and there is simply no replacing him. We are here now to miss him, celebrate him, and try in every way to continue his legacy of commitment.

Mike, we love you and we will never forget you. Thank you, Mike Berman, from the entire MAC family. 

If you would like to share a remembrance, please email Liz McClearn, Managing Director, at exec@mediaartscouncil.org

Memories of Mike

Mike’s legacy to MAC is immeasurable, including his service as a Board member, Treasurer, PhotoEx Chair, Library Exhibit Chair, gallery guardian and all-around wonderful volunteer.  If there was a MAC event you could count on Mike being there, organizing and helping, smiling and chatting.  Mike’s love for photography was very apparent both in his beautiful photographs and in his joy in mentoring other photographers.  We have been lucky to have had Mike as part of our MAC family.  We will miss him.
 

Stephanie Sher, President, Media Arts Council

A vibrant, kind soul who loved art and people and MAC.

Laurie Doran, MAC Gallery Artist

He was such a presence in anything that had to do with MAC and the gallery.  I will miss him very much. My condolences to his family, friends and the MAC community.  We’ve lost a big one.

José Sevillano, MAC Gallery Artist
I remember Mike being the first person to say hello to me at my first MAC opening night reception. Always friendly, welcoming, and passionate about his photography.
 
Karen Chiarini, Media Film Festival Volunteer

Mike was my right hand man for so many MAC events. I’m heart broken.

Tamme McClelland, Former MAC Board Member, MFF Volunteer

It’s never easy leading a business through growth and change, but as MAC’s president, I could always count on Mike to be there and help no matter what. His presence was as reliable as the sunrise. He was the watchdog of MACs finances for so long and his steadfast protection was an integral part of what made it possible for so many of the Council’s successes. I can never thank him enough for what he did, as it was a difficult and often thankless job.

I am thankful for Mike’s humor, patience, and dedication. He always got my jokes and was quick with a clever retort always making me laugh. A side wink from Mike was reassuring when things got rough, and he never said goodbye to me without a hug, and an “I love you, kiddo.”

As a leader, I was often told that I had a soft spot when it came to Berman. I did, and have no regrets because his dedication was pure and true; his belief in our mission was evident in every word and action whether gentle or tough. Mike was my dear friend, mentor, and champion, and his love for his friends, artists, and MAC will be remembered as a blessing. He was a giant in the arts community and selflessly helped so many discover their creativity and hone their talent and skill.

Rest in peace dear friend, I will always love you Mikey Berms.

Sara Painter, former MAC Board Member and Past President

Mike was a monumental force at MAC and he is deeply missed. His name and his artwork are stamped all over the history of the Arts Council. His impact is immeasurable and the loss is indescribable. 

Liz McClearn, Managing Director, Media Arts Council

Mike was a dedicated, ever-present force in our community from day one. He believed in the beauty and togetherness that only art can create – especially through photography, and he wanted everyone to have that opportunity. He won numerous photography awards himself, but was always humble and learning. And when the work was done, Mike was truly present with others – so patient and kind. I miss you Mike.

Chris Dietrich, PhotoEx Chair & Former MAC Board Member  

Mike was the true embodiment of the word “volunteer” for the simple reason of showing up ready to do whatever was needed. Though his contributions to MAC, Photo-EX, MFF, the community went beyond a mere physical presence, the example he set by his steadfast reliability remains an example for all.

Pick a cliche, or quote, about “showing up” or “getting your hands dirty” as any would do.
 
But maybe the best way to celebrate our friend is to simply “be like Mike”.
 
Dave Scheivert, Media Film Festival Committee Chair and Former MAC Board Member

Our friendship with Mike goes way back when we used to do outdoor art shows together at the Rose tree park and Media arts festival. It was a joy to know Mike, we became very good friends over the years. Mike was kind, compassionate and a true gentleman who loved art and life immensely. I love you Mike.

Matiko Mamaladze, MAC Gallery Artist

Heartbreaking. He was so kind, I will miss his big heart and smile. His funny stories, he was always looking out for us, a great loss. 

Carrie Barcomb, MAC Gallery Artist

Mike will always hold a special place in my heart. It pains me to know he is not physically with us. He was a wealth of knowledge about the organization and controlled its finances with great success for many years. Not to mention, he was a fair kind soul with a great sense of humor and the ability to always bring a smile to my face. 

Mary Beth Rim, Former MAC Board Member

Mike was always such a presence at MAC events, and especially PhotoEx and the library exhibit. He will be deeply missed, as a colleague and friend. 

Patricia Danzon, MAC Gallery Artist

Words shared with us about Mike

Mike and I shared a relationship as photographers with the Delaware County Camera Club. As noted, he was a great photographer and liked to see some of the things others missed. He was a pleasant, genuine individual who enjoyed life and being active. If one needed help or suggestions, he was available. People like Mike, who love helping, sharing and being committed to a cause, are difficult to replace. Beyond all that, I recall his istinctive voice. May he rest in peace and may his good works be an inspiration to others.
Joe Dragon 
Through many years of working with Mike on the annual PhotoEx committee, I developed a huge amount of respect for him. Mike worked tirelessly on nearly all aspects of bringing each exhibit to fruition. He was happy to expend ongoing efforts to support an exhibit he truly believed in and enjoyed. Mike was not only a solitary workhorse, but relished the communal contact and friendly socialization of meetings, emails and opening receptions, where he was the fun loving host–who also took care of business. Mike had a great kindness, loving attitude and sensitivity to others. His cheerful demeanor made him a favorite of everyone he met. Not only will Mike be missed in our community, but he left a legacy of giving to the arts that will be long remembered.

Suzanne Comer, PhotoEx Committee Member

I was very saddened by the news of Mike’s passing. I entered my first PhotoEx in 2018 and I happened to gallery sit with Mike during that exhibit. It was the first time I had ever met him, and I was immediately struck by how friendly and welcoming he was. We spent a couple of hours without much foot traffic through the exhibit discussing the entries and photography in general. It was a very pleasant and interesting conversation with a person who was passionate about photography.
After the exhibit, he emailed me to tell me that he had forgotten to mention that he was disappointed that one of my three submissions had been turned down- he said he had argued for that one because he thought it a very interesting composition. I thought that was so nice of him to go to the trouble of letting me know that he appreciated the work. My sincere condolences to his family, I wish I had had the opportunity to spend more time with him talking about photography or any other subject.  He just seemed like such a kind soul. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

Sincerely,
Sandy Stagliano

The finest tribute that could be paid to Mike was to let him know how much he was valued and how important he was to us while he was able to appreciate it, which many of us did. Cataloging his virtues now makes us feel a little better but never erases the, “I wish I had . . . .”  Nor can it fill the enormous empty place left by Mike’s death. Mike’s tireless work with MAC, PhotoEx, and MATL benefited many of us, not least of all by providing the opportunity to work with him and just enjoy being in the company of a fine human being. One of the personal extras that brings pleasant memories was the time he provided a multi hour tutorial on reading maritime charts in response to some questions I had. The tasks he performed can be taken on by others, but Mike can never be replaced.

— John Newell, PhotoEx Committee member