Paula Bohovesky was 16 years old when she was attacked and killed on Oct. 28, 1980 while walking home from her part-time job at the Pearl River Public Library.
While the Pearl River community has worked to remember Bohovesky in the past 30-plus years, on Saturday the Pearl River Library took another step in doing so when the board of trustees officially named the library’s art space the Paula Bohovesky Art Gallery.
“The art wall is a special place at our library and Paula is so much a very special part of our library, so combing the two is just the right thing to do,” said Pearl River Public Library Director Kathy Rose.
The art wall is one of the first things people see when walking into the main entrance of the library, as it is just off to the left and is often full of paintings and pictures. The exhibit currently on display, which held its opening reception on Saturday as well, features art from students at Pearl River High School and Pearl River Middle School.
“Walls can mean a lot of things. A wall can mean shut out, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall. A wall can mean protection. Our homes. A wall can mean something sacred and memorable. The Wailing Wall. The Vietnam Memorial Wall,” said Anne Brebbia, a library trustee. “It is fitting that this wall should be dedicated today to Paula, as Kathy said, a member of our library family at the time of her untimely death. It is also appropriate that this wall will house beauty, creativity, honesty, sharing, many of the attributes that were in blossom in this young woman at the time of her death. But we must not think that it is just a library wall. This wall is a community wall, a community that grieved and will not forget.”
Kelley Hadeler, president of the library’s board of trustees, read the proclamation from when the board voted to name the wall in honor of Bohovesky at the April 23 meeting. She then presented the proclamation to Paula’s mother, Lois Bohovesky, who was sitting in the crowd.
Rockland County Legislator John Murphy (R-Pearl River) said the library is an appropriate place to honor Paula Bohovesky’s memory.
“This is a sacred place because it was the last place that Paula saw a friendly face, so it will always remain a sacred place,” Murphy said.
The library has a case right next to the front desk featuring some of Paula Bohovesky’s artwork.
At the end of the ceremony, Paula Bohovesky’s mother, Lois Bohovesky, got up and thanked the group of about 30 people watching the dedication, and thanked the community for all their support.
“It keeps her alive,” Lois Bohovesky said.