Anyone who has watched TV during the past several decades is more than familiar with the name Joy Behar, from her appearances in the 1980s on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to her 20-plus years on “The View.” What many do not know about is Behar’s passion for ensuring that her family members follow their own artistic bliss, as she has done herself in the performing arts.
After earning a B.A. from Queens College and an M.A. in English Education from Stony Brook University, Joy’s early career path led her to teaching for many years at Lindenhurst High School. Her creative urges were too strong a force in her DNA, however, and show business called her away. According to Behar, “School and job are staples, but what interests you outside of those requirements will make you happy.”
Following her dream was rewarding, but not always easy. “My journey has been riddled with obstacles, but I’ve managed to stay gainfully employed, so that should count for something. Standup comedy did not fall into my lap. I was funny, yes, but there is quite a divide between entertaining your dinner guests and facing a paying crowd,” she said.
Besides enjoying her professional artistic success, Behar’s family has always come first. Her daughter Eve, born in 1970, has flourished as a serious, devoted ceramist (as the English teacher in Behar pointed out: “That’s the right word”), thanks to the encouragement and support of her mom. Behar feels that creativity is genetic: “We are a creative family. Eve’s grandmother on her father’s side was an artist, and my uncle on my father’s side was an artist, so it’s in the genes,” said Behar.
Eve Behar’s own path to artistic fulfillment has required a lifetime of devotion and hard work. Educated at Hunter College, the Studio Arts Center International in Florence, Italy, and Sheridan College in Ontario, she has 20 years of experience as a ceramics instructor. In January 2016, she became gallery director at Celadon Clay Art Gallery in Bridgehampton. She is currently a teacher at the Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons, which will open a new studio/learning space in Water Mill on June 22.
According to Eve, “I come from a creative family that supports artistic endeavors. Never did I hear a negative word about pursuing art as a career. My husband and I do the same for my son.” She has tried a variety of art forms and media, including dance, drawing and acting, but when she came upon clay, “it was a done deal.”
Working with clay and on the wheel are her happiest moments. As Eve Behar describes her passion for pottery, “Through my work I strive for connection . . . a direct link between the maker and the user of ‘utilitarian ceramic art.’ The challenge of the technical aspects, the homeyness and scale, the long history and tradition from all over the world in most cultures, keep me engaged in creating my own work.”
Eve’s one-of-a-kind, handmade, original ceramic art creations have been shown recently at various local locations, including the Valentine’s Craft Fair at Ashawagh Hall, and Keyes Art Gallery in Sag Harbor.
Following the family tradition is Luca, the son of Eve and her husband, Al Scotti. Eve reports that eight-year old Luca is already experimenting with clay, painting, and slime. Fortunately, he has his mother’s studio behind their house where he can practice, and his grandmother living only a few houses away on a quiet Sag Harbor Street for encouragement.
The enduring debate of nature versus nurture continues. For the extended Behar family, both forces are hard at work.
Joy Behar will present new work as a special guest playwright at the Andromeda’s Sisters fundraiser for Neo-Political Cowgirls on Friday, June 14, at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton. The performance of seven one-act plays by women playwrights will start at 8 PM.