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Meet the BNG Team

Peter Lapsley

Get to know the team behind the 2022 Best of Bermuda Award. As a small but nimble team of five staff, we all wear many hats. Our membership has grown over the past year and with a relatively new team in place we though that we would introduce ourselves to you. In celebration of being named Best Museum by The Bermudian, we will be profiling each of our staff members over the next few weeks, beginning with Executive Director Peter Lapsley.

A familiar face to many, Peter has been the Executive Director of Bermuda National Gallery for four years. An accomplished multimedia artist, he has exhibited in almost 60 exhibitions, including seven Bermuda Biennials, the Havana Biennial (2019) and solo shows at Masterworks (2010) and Victori+Mo Gallery in Brooklyn, NYC (2015).

Top: The BNG team, from left to right Jennifer Phillips, Office Administrator; Eve Godet Thomas, Director of Programming and Engagement; Peter Lapley, Executive Director; Rehana Packwood, Education Officer; Lara Hetzel, Volunteer and Operations Officer. Above: Peter photographed by Meredith Andrews.

He and his wife, fellow artist Andrea Sundt, ran the concept store &PARTNERS for several years, which they opened after returning to the island in 2016 following 10 years in New York. Peter completed an MFA at Parsons School of Design – The New School before going on to manage the academic fabrication facilities at Parsons for six years and later joining City University of New York as Adjunct Professor for ART 150, where he taught sculpture. Prior to his move to NYC, Peter spent five years as Director of the Bermuda Society Arts (2001-2006).

As Executive Director of the Bermuda National Gallery, Peter has strategic oversight on all BNG initiatives and serves as a spokesperson for the gallery. Together with the Board of Trustees, Peter is responsible for the mission and vision of the museum and leads fundraising initiatives, strategic partnerships and the development of BNG’s exhibition calendar and permanent collection. Peter works closely with the team on all projects, including exhibition development, education and public programming.

Peter gives the Minister of Education, The Hon. Diallo Rabain JP, MP a tour of Our People, Our Places, Our Stories: The African Collection earlier this year.

BNG: What does a typical day at the gallery look like for you?

PL: A typical day at the gallery starts early to follow up on emails that have come in overnight, as well as getting started on the administrative items that require more immediate attention.  As a small team the day often quickly becomes collaborative on whatever project is front and center. Typically, Eve Godet Thomas (Director of Programming and Engagement) and I will catch up on both the overarching needs for the day as well as whatever individual projects are in either of our areas of focus. As the team arrive this conversation expands as individual catchups happen.

We typically have a team meeting once a week to make sure we all have a good sense of the needs for the team and where and who requires support. This happens in the gallery and is a nice benefit of the BNG… having the opportunity to be surrounded by art as we discuss and plan.

As mentioned earlier the day often becomes collaborative and depending on where we are in an exhibition cycle it can be discussing curatorial direction with Eve, helping to layout, design and install with Lara Hetzel (Volunteer and Operations Officer) when we have an exhibition going up or trouble shooting a specific exhibition need.

At other times it is working with our accounting team, grant writing, creating operational reporting, discussing the programming and exhibition needs with stakeholders and committee members, managing the shipping of artworks, contract discussion and collections management. These are just some of the daily operations I am involved in and I guess the key here is that every day is different and because of my background, which has a broad range of arts related experience, I am often pulled into supporting a wide range of needs as Executive Director.  

BNG: What part of your job do you enjoy the most and why?

PL: The bringing of an exhibition together is the most enjoyable because it is the core of what we do. There is so much work that goes into planning and organising and managing it that, when we get to the layout and the install, there isn’t any time to worry about the rest.

There is a focus and an outcome that is deeply satisfying, and it requires a different mindset. I would describe it in terms of mindfulness as there is a focused commitment to the action of the exhibition’s manifestation, of problem solving that brings one to a different space. With that said, it’s not all mindful especially as one often stands atop a 30 ft ladder…   

Peter leads the Minister for Youth Culture and Sport, Dr. the Hon. Ernest J Peets and US Consulate General Karen Grisette on a tour of the 2022 Bermuda Biennial.

BNG: What would people be most surprised to know about your role?

PL: I guess it would have to be what I have described above. That the role encompasses such a wide range of needs from the engagement with the public, stakeholders, officials, as well as administration and management of operations to discussing the conceptual underpinnings of an exhibition, and making sure of relevance to the community, to climbing a ladder to install lights, or designing and building a structure to problem solve the install of an artwork.

BNG: What is something that most people don’t know about BNG?

PL: I would have to say three things: 1. that the original concept involved artists who were seeking to have an organization that could show Bermuda’s artists at a national level as well as showcasing international artworks. 2. People assume that we are funded, and while we do have some long-term partners who we work with, we have to raise the funds for everything we do.  3. We have a very small team who manage to create exhibitions and programming that is world class and I think there is an assumption that there are more of us then there are.

Iconostasis of Water by Nancy Graves, 1992. Etching, aquatint, and dry point on Fabriano Artistico paper with screenprinted and embossed collage. Collection of Bermuda National Gallery.

BNG: What is your favourite piece in the BNG collection and why?

PL: Iconostasis of Water by Nancy Graves. I love this piece for a number of reasons. It is a large-scale work on paper at almost 8 ft long and 5 ft tall. It is about printmaking and collage with such a variety of marks elements (including an embossed fish) that I find myself constantly engaged. It is a work that I see and think dammit… I wish I had made that as I can imagine it must have been so satisfying to bring all of these elements together in such a fantastic way. The whole piece sings, it’s a must see. It is currently on loan to Clarien Bank at their new banking center in Point House.

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Community

Join the BNG Team

Hiring Camp Counselors

Join the Bermuda National Gallery team this summer! We are hiring both Junior Camp Counselors and Senior Camp Counselors for our Art+Tech Summer Camp Programme.

Senior Camp Counselors, age 18+, work full time from July – August under the supervision of Education Officer Rehana Packwood and are responsible for daily camp management and following the weekly schedule. A background in youth camps or education is preferred, as is knowledge of digital art.

Junior Camp Counselors, aged 16-18, work under the guidance of our Senior Counselors to provide general support for camp.

All Camp Counselors must be available for the entire duration of camp, from July 1st through August 29th. Work hours are 8:30-3:30, Monday through Friday excluding the week of Cup Match. 

Click here to apply. 

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Community

Gallery Closed for Install

Biennial Coming Soon

The doors to the gallery are temporarily closed as we work on the installation of the 2022 Bermuda Biennial. The exhibition, which is sponsored by Bacardi Limited, provides a platform for the best of contemporary Bermuda art and opens to the public on Saturday, June 11.

Invitations to the Members’ Opening have been sent out. If you have not received an invitation and would like to attend, your membership may have lapsed. Please click here to take out a 2022 Membership

As part of the Biennial celebrations, Richard Georges, the juror for the poetry component of the Biennial, and the Department of Culture’s 2022 Writer in Residence, will be hosting a public reading of his work at the gallery on Tuesday, June 14. Tickets are free.

Click here to register for the reading


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Community

National Volunteer Week

Supporting the Arts

Volunteers are at the heart of the Bermuda National Gallery. As a non-profit (registered charity #288) with a small team of 5 staff, the gallery could not operate without the hard work and commitment of a dedicated group of volunteers.

From the board of trustees who steward the sound governance and fiduciary oversight of the organisation, to art lovers who dedicate their time to greeting and guiding visitors through the space and those who help to install artworks and prep the gallery for exhibitions, volunteers are the very backbone of BNG.

The roles are myriad, as are the ages and experiences of those who volunteer their time. Volunteering not only supports the gallery, it also benefits those who share their time. Students can gain a valuable insight into the running of a museum; those looking to build their resumes can develop new skills; retirees are able to build new networks and forge deeper connections with the community.

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we took a moment to catch up with some of our volunteers to find out what volunteering at BNG means to them and what they have learnt from their time at the gallery.


Charlene Scott & François Bertrand

Since retiring a couple of years ago, Charlene Scott and her husband François Bertrand dedicate one alternating day a week as front desk volunteers, where they meet and greet visitors. We caught up with Charlene and François, who are both passionate art collectors, to discuss their roles and why, in their experience, BNG is about more than just art: it has the power to educate people about almost anything.

BNG: How did you start volunteering at BNG and how long have you been at the gallery?

CS: Less than four years ago, my husband and I were invited to a Friday evening cruise around the harbour on the Bermuda Sloop. We met with BNG Chairman Gary Phillips and his wife Tricia.  It was Tricia who sparked my interest in doing some volunteer work. I had been thinking of doing something after retiring from a very busy job, so I took the bait, and the rest is history. Originally, I did every Wednesday afternoon and since Covid, I alternate my time at the Gallery with my husband, François.

FB: I started a few months after Charlene as a floater as I preferred a flexible schedule, then moved to alternating Wednesday afternoons to complement Charlene’s schedule. I am still filling in, from time to time, when there is a need.

BNG: What do you do in your capacity as volunteers?

CS: I’m on the Front Desk. I enjoy meeting people and informing them of what is current in the gallery. Collecting the entry fee from visitors or persuading them to give a donation is also part of the experience. Taking and delivering messages is also an important aspect of being on the Front Desk.

FB:  As a Front Desk volunteer our foremost role is to greet the visitors, collect the applicable fee and give them a quick summary of the various exhibits showing now. We answer their questions about the Gallery, and sometimes any other question they may have about Bermuda. Then there are all the other little tasks like renewing membership, selling the BNG paraphernalia and answering the phone.

BNG: You are both art collectors and collect works by many local artists. Has your experience as collectors affected the way you experience the works and exhibitions in the gallery?

CS: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is said! The gallery showcases different expressions of art and I get to see that first-hand. Being there does not really affect or influence the way I see works and exhibitions. As will be the case, I like some exhibits more than others.  Art is so very personal. Recently, we purchased prints from one of the local artists [Meredith Andrews’ limited-edition prints, accompanying Flotsam and Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living].

FS:  It is always interesting to see new work from artists we already know, and in some cases have purchased pieces from before. It is also always interesting to discover work from artists we did not know.

BNG: Why is it important to support BNG?

CS: Art is a form of expression. Our society needs to appreciate not only academic achievements; it should also value the artistic endeavours of persons, whichever form they take.

FS: The quick and easy answer is that it provides a platform for Bermuda artists to exhibit their work. However, art is a lot more important to society. To answer the above question, one must first ask: Why is art important to Bermuda? If I were to summarize my thoughts into one phrase or concept, I would say that the BNG has the power to educate people about almost anything.

BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience?

CS: Observing and having brief conversations with the people who walk through the door…they come from all walks of life, different countries and have varied experiences!

FS:  Stuffing envelopes…just kidding! Viewing and learning about new exhibits and interacting with foreign tourists are the most interesting part of the experience of a front desk volunteer.


Sophia Tessitore

Sophia Tessitore has been volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery for the past year. The recent Bermuda College graduate comes in once a fortnight to assist with a variety of different jobs, from prepping the gallery for new exhibitions and installing artworks to admin tasks. She credits her experience at the gallery with helping to open her eyes to a new career path and later this year plans to study online for a Bachelor’s of History from Royal Holloway, University of London, with the aim of pursuing a career in the museum sector.

BNG: How did you start volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery and how long have you been there?

ST: I began volunteering in March of 2021, after visiting the BNG for a gallery tour of the 2020 Bermuda Biennial with Governor Rena Lalgie and my art history professor at Bermuda College, Dr. Edwin Smith (who was participating in the exhibition). I initially got involved because I love art and thought it would be an interesting way to pass time; through volunteering, I discovered a new career path and set of skills.

BNG What do you do in your capacity as a volunteer? 

ST: My first-time volunteering, I assisted with the installation of Gherdai Hassel’s first solo exhibition I Am Because You Are. This was my first experience installing artwork, and was great as I got to learn more about the process of creating an art exhibition. Currently, I do reception and front desk duties, help with installation and occasionally assist with administrative tasks, such as organizing BNG’s email lists, transcribing interviews and proofreading press releases.

BNG: How can getting involved at BNG support the goals of young Bermudians interested in a career in the arts?

ST: I think volunteering is a great opportunity for those interested in a career in the arts. I’ve learned so much about the art scene in Bermuda along with the day-to-day work that often goes into operating an art gallery or museum, it’s incredibly fascinating and it’s an experience that will stick with me!

BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience? 

ST: My favourite aspect would probably be getting to interact with those who visit, display their art or work in the gallery. Discussing art with them is so interesting and has been a great learning experience. Volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery is something that I would definitely recommend!


Stephanie Hardy

Stephanie Hardy recently began volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery once a week after school as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme. The 14 year old student, who is currently in M4 at Somersfield Academy helps the team with a variety of tasks, from exhibition research to setting up the space for evening art classes. In order to attain the Bronze Award in the Duke of Edinburgh Programme, Stephanie needs to complete 12 weeks of community service, which her time at the BNG is helping her to achieve.

BNG: How did you start volunteering at BNG and how long have you been at the gallery?

SH: I started volunteering at the Bermuda National Gallery as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme. I started here in December of 2021, and I come and help out for about an hour each week.

BNG: What do you do as a volunteer?   

SH: I usually help with current or ongoing projects in the gallery, from packing artwork to running errands. I also learn from those around me about what it takes to run a gallery. I have learned how BNG plans exhibitions and about hanging artworks in the gallery. I was also able to help with the art classes in the late afternoon, which was a great learning opportunity about the preparation involved.

BNG: Why is it important for young people to volunteer in their communities?

SH: I feel as though it’s important for young people to volunteer to help the community, especially if you’re volunteering in an area where you would be interested in pursuing a career path in in the future. It can create vital connections and friends within subsets of the wider community. It’s also improving the lives of those you help, and thus the community.

BNG: Would you recommend that other students complete their volunteer hours at BNG?

SH: Definitely. The team at the Bermuda National Gallery is very welcoming and willing to work with total beginners. It has a nice atmosphere, and it offers great in-roads to the art community in Bermuda. It’s also an interesting volunteer experience for those who are interested in how a gallery works.

BNG: What has been the most enjoyable part of your experience? 

SH: Getting to go through older Bermuda Biennial artworks is one of my favourite things that I have done at BNG. It’s a great reflection of how art has changed, even in recent years. It acts as a time capsule for the art community in Bermuda, which is very interesting to look back on. Getting to know artists in the community, or those who have been in the community in the past, when flipping through the catalogues is intriguing.

If you possess a love for the arts and would like to get involved, please contact Volunteer and Operations Officer Lara Hetzel at operations@bng.bm.

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Community

New Yoga Series

Starts April 18

Join us for a new series of Yoga in the Gallery with Tiffany Paynter, starting Monday, April 18. What does physical, mental and emotional flexibility feel like in the mind and body? In this new 4-week series explore movement, breath and mindfulness to help improve your physical, mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

Tiffany is a two-time Bermuda Biennial artist, spoken word poet and yoga teacher. She studied at the International Sivananda School and is a co-founder of the Peace Within Prison Yoga Programme which teaches yoga to incarcerated men and women. She recently launched SOHAM, a social enterprise dedicated to providing lifelong, practical mental health tools to young people, parents, educators and youth service providers through yoga.

Take time out each Monday lunchtime for Yoga in the Gallery to feel better in your body and mind. The theme for this new 4-part series is Strength & Flexibility and classes take place on April 18, 25 and May 2, 9 from 1pm to 2pm. 

Click here to register. Classes are $20 for BNG members and $25 for non members. 

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Community

IWD 2022

Celebrating Female Artists

Last night we hosted an intimate artist led tour of the Bermuda National Gallery featuring two of Bermuda’s leading female artists, Meredith Andrews and Christina Hutchings, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2022.

Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed the evening, including:

Christina Hutchings for providing personal insights into both her work and that of her mother Nancy Valentine featured in Testing Boundaries: In the Studio with Nancy Valentine and Christina Hutchings.

Cassine for the wonderful goodie bags and their support of the proposed single use plastic ban highlighted Flotsam & Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living by Meredith Andrews.

Bacardi for providing the bar which featured 3 delicious cocktails made with Grey Goose Essences, including Golden Girl produced especially for International Women’s Day 2022, all garnished with locally foraged loquats, nasturtiums and rosemary by Mixzy Bermuda.

And finally, but by no means least, thank you to Dana Selassi for the wonderful photographs.

We were proud to have an all female team on the night, led by BNG Director of Programming and Engagement Eve Godet Thomas alongside BNG Office Administrator and Chair of the Bermuda Arts Council Jennifer Phillips and BNG volunteer Gail Geiger running the front desk.

In support of International Women’s Day, part proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to the Women’s Resource Centre, for which we raised $300.

If you would be interested in hosting a bespoke event at the Bermuda National Gallery contact programming@bng.bm.

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Community

Women’s History Month

Celebrating Female Artists

March is Women’s History Month. Established in 1981 to commemorate the vital role that women have played American history, Women’s History Month brings together the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in a collaborative celebration of female achievement

Throughout history, the canonisation of female artists has not been prioritized and female artists remain overlooked and undervalued. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) a data analysis of 18 major U.S. art museums found that their collections were 87% male.

Commercial statistics are equally revelatory, showing that 96% of artworks sold at auction are by male artists. The most expensive work sold by a woman artist at auction, Georgia O’Keefe’s Jimson Weed/ White Flower No. 1 (1932) sold in 2014 for $44.4 million — more than $400 million less than the auction record for a male artist, Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, which sold in 2017 for $450.3 million.

Whilst there is a movement to rectify this, as NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling points out, “People in the art world want to think that we are achieving parity more quickly than we are.” Our new exhibition Testing Boundaries: In the Studio with Nancy Valentine and Christina Hutchings looks at the work of two of Bermuda’s most progressive female artists (a mother and daughter) who, with their unwavering quest for experimentation and innovation, are helping to pave the way forward.

Click here to find out more about the exhibition

Exhibition generously supported by the Christian Humann Foundation. In the Studio with Nancy Valentine and Christina Hutchings is on display through to June. 

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Community

Yoga In The Gallery

With Tiffany Paynter

Yoga classes are back, with a new 4 part series led by Tiffany Paynter starting on Monday, March 7. Yoga For A Calm Body And A Calm Mind combines yoga postures, breathing exercises and meditation to de-stress, reduce anxiety and bring mental clarity. 

Classes are held in the peaceful setting ofthe gallery on Mondays 1pm – 2pm. Tiffany, who is a two-time Bermuda Biennial artist, studied at the International Sivananda School and is a co-founder of the Peace Within Prison Yoga Programme which teaches yoga to incarcerated men and women.

Each week, Tiffany will focus on a specific aspect of yoga practice, integrating science and yoga practices:

Week 1| MIND: Will offer yoga postures, breathing exercises, and a meditation that we can apply to de-stress, reduce anxiety and bring mental clarity.

Week 2| BODY: Will offer yoga postures and breathing exercises that release physical tension in your psoas muscle, hips and lower back. 

Week 3| HEART: Will offer yoga postures, breathing exercises, and a meditation that will open and stretch your chest, shoulders and front of the body.

Week 4| BREATH: Will offer yoga postures and deep breathing exercises that strengthen the lungs and stretch your obliques.

The series begins on March 7 and run through to March 28. Spaces are limited and must be booked in advance. Individual classes are $20 for BNG members and $25 for non-members.

Click here to register. 

The class is open to beginners. Alternative poses will be given for more advanced students. Please bring your own yoga mat.

Yoga For a Calm Body and a Calm Mind is led by Tiffany Paynter.
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Community

International Women’s Day

Celebrating Female Artists

Join us on International Women’s Day for an intimate artist-led tour of the Bermuda National Gallery by two of Bermuda’s leading female artists on Tuesday, March 8 from 5.30pm – 7pm.

Meredith Andrews will lead a tour of her photographic exhibition Flotsam and Jetsam: The Cost of Modern Living. The exhibition, which is produced by BNG in partnership with KBB, reminds us of the short life span of every day plastic objects and the implications of using and discarding them.

Christina Hutchings will lead a tour of Testing Boundaries: In the Studio with Nancy Valentine and Christina Hutchings. The exhibition, which recently opened, looks at Christina’s work, and that of her mother, and how both their lives and studio practices intertwined.

Attendees are invited to join both tours, with a break in between the two to enjoy a cocktail in the striking setting of the gallery. Tickets are $50. This includes entry to the event, a cocktail, a complimentary annual membership to the Bermuda National Gallery and a goodie bag from Cassine

Click here to register. Spaces are limited. 

In support of International Women’s Day, a portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Women’s Resource Centre.

Top: Meredith Andrews. Above: Christina Hutchings.
Photographed by Brandon Morrison.
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Community

30% Off Memberships

Celebrating 30 Years

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are offering 30% off Individual, Family and Contributing memberships to the Bermuda National Gallery.

This offer applies to both new memberships and membership renewals taken out between now and March 31st (valid through to March 2023). Please note all all current memberships expire on March 31

Connect with art and discover more as a member of the Bermuda National Gallery. Click here to join

BNG Members enjoy unlimited free access to exhibitions, discounts on special events and educational programmes, as well as exclusive invitations to exhibition openings. Plus 10% off art supplies at the Stationary Store and 10% off custom framing at Frameworks. 

Alongside the standard membership benefits, Contributing Members enjoy exclusive Contributing Members events such as behind the scenes artist studio tours, plus reciprocal membership at over 1,150 museums across 5 countries through the North American Reciprocal Museum (NARM) Association.

In addition to this, Director’s Circle Members receive invitations to the Director Circle preview for each exhibition and use of the gallery for private entertaining at discounted rates.

Click here to to become a 2022/23 BNG Member