The Arts

Portrait of a Merrick artist and poet


“I’m really a dichotomous person living in one body,” said Mia Barkan Clarke, a Merokean who has been creating art for more than 20 years.

Barkan Clarke recently presented an exhibition and poetry reading titled “Freya’s Tears” at the Bay Area Friends of the Fine Arts gallery in Sayville. She has worked on the series since 2011 and is expected to publish the book of her drawings and poetry within the next few months.

Describing herself as “a Jewish, Norse-driven, neo-pagan naturalist with a little bit of Wicca sprinkled on top,” Clarke has versatility not only personally, but artistically as well. She is a poet, an artist and a licensed creative art therapist.

Growing up Barkan
Born in Brooklyn, Clarke grew up in Merrick in a Spanish gable-style home, designed with stucco walls and terra-cotta roofing. The daughter of Stanley and Bebe Barkan, Clarke was exposed to an environment teeming with creativity. She and her brother have come to reflect that creativity in their own lives through music, art and poetry.

Her father is a poet and publisher of Cross Cultural Communications. To date the company has published 350 to 400 books in more than 50 languages. Her mother is a professional painter, drawer and soft sculptor.

“I was exposed to the arts my whole life here in Merrick, which is a bit of a desert for creativity,” said Clarke. “But if you look for it, you could find it, and fortunately I grew up in it.”

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