Bernice Handley Landers
2nd Annual Gideon Alumni Art Show
Featured Artist ~ September 5, 2009
Bernice Handley Landers from the Class of 1951.
Bernice Handley was six years old when her family moved from
Pemiscot County to the small community of Tallapoosa, Missouri.
She attended school at Gideon from 1st grade until her graduation
in May, 1951. Shortly after graduation she became Mrs. Hugh Landers
in December of the same year. Two years of military service sent the
young couple out of state. They then returned to rural Tallapoosa
and began farming in 1954. When their family expanded with children
Janie, Sammy & David, Bernice embraced her role as mother and
homemaker with unselfish devotion.
Her interest in art began in the elementary school's art class. During her high school years, art was not included in the
curriculum but the desire and talent remained within her. Even after her children were born she stated, "When my kids are
grown and are out of school, I'm going to take art classes."
Bernice read in the local newspaper where Mrs. Almyra Tolleson was offering art classes
at the community center in Malden. She decided it was time to pursue her hidden passion
and enrolled in the class. This was in 1977... just one year before her youngest child
graduated from high school.
When Mrs. Tolleson retired from teaching art classes in 1986, Bernice continued her
training with Mr. Larry Adams in Caruthersville until 1996. It was under his guidance that
her love of portrait painting flourished. Her determination to tap into her heart's desire was
a beautiful discovery of overflowing artistic talent. The dedication and discipline that
spans twenty years of training is truly evident when one views her work.
Bernice's other interests and hobbies include bowling, scrapbooking and visiting with
friends and family. She is active in the 1st Baptist Church of Tallapoosa, the Rural
Independent Women's Club of Risco, the Gideon Women's Club, and the Gideon Alumni
Photo to the left: Artist Bernice Handley Landers is shown with one of her many
paintings that was on display in 2009's Art Show. The portrait
she is holding is of a young Lindsay Stone Tedie, her grandchild.