Longtime Provincetown summer resident and artist Jane Ellen Bloom died from injuries sustained in an accident on March 11, 2022. She was dining with a group of friends at a restaurant near her home in Washington, D.C. when an SUV drove into the outdoor area where they were seated. She was 76.
The daughter of immigrants, Jane (Rockberger) Bloom was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Jan. 17, 1946. She grew up in suburban New Jersey, an only child whose many cousins were like siblings to her. She had a genius for friendship and community-building, said her daughter, Rebecca Best.
Jane graduated from Livingston High School in 1964, started college at Penn State, and graduated from New York University. A master’s degree in social work from Syracuse University followed.
After graduate school, Jane at first pursued gerontology. But she found her true calling in 1983 when she took an assignment to study the lives of elderly refugees who had resettled in New York state. In 1997, she founded and for seven years headed Refugee Works, a training and technical assistance agency of the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Jane Leu, a colleague during those years, said, “Where others saw barriers, Jane saw opportunities to educate.”
At age 60, Jane earned a master’s degree in international public policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
For 12 years, she worked for the International Catholic Migration Commission, a nongovernmental agency based in Geneva. During that time, she worked with the Yazidi population that had been displaced by ISIS in Iraq.
She retired from the commission in 2018 but remained interested in the plight of refugees everywhere. In recent days she was deeply concerned about the fate of Ukrainian refugees, said her son, Joshua Bloom of Berkeley, Calif., in an interview with the Washington Post.
Jane began spending summers in Provincetown with her family in the mid-1970s, at first renting a house on Snow Street. She bought a house in the East End in 1992.
Jane spent many hours at the Provincetown Tennis Club. After their weekly Tuesday afternoon doubles matches, she and her friends would go to Pucci’s (where Fanizzi’s is now) for a late lunch and drinks. She was also a regular at Napi’s.
The beauty of the ever-changing landscapes of Provincetown Harbor and Herring Cove influenced Jane’s creative life. She was longtime member of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), where her work was included in both invitational and juried shows over the years. One show featured artists who creatively employed alternative photography methods, curated by Marian Roth.
Jane also was one of 52 artists selected to be part of PAAM’s deck of cards project (as the Seven of Spades), which subsequently formed the basis of a PAAM group show. Known as “J R Bloom,” she was represented for several years by the William Scott Gallery.
Jane studied with Selina Trief and Brenda Horowitz. Jane Winter, a Provincetown artist and friend, said during an online memorial gathering, “She was always expanding her art universe, always reaching for other points of view, new ways of seeing.”
Most recently she completed Sian Robertson’s cartography art course and, just days before her death, completed a certification in world art history from the Smithsonian.
At the memorial gathering for Jane, her daughter Rebecca said, Linda Sinuc described going out on the Dolphin Fleet with her friend. Jane shrieked with joy throughout the trip, Sinuc said. She assumed it must have been Jane’s first whale. Only later did she learn that Jane had been on many such expeditions.
In 1967, Jane married Ira Bloom. The couple divorced in 2000, though Bloom maintains a friendly relationship with the family.
Jane is survived by her daughter, Rebecca Best, son-in-law Robert Best, and granddaughter Ella Best of Washington, D.C.; and by her son, Joshua Bloom, daughter-in-law Anna Bellomo, and granddaughters Claudia and Sofia Bloom of Berkeley, Calif.
Jane was remembered in a virtual ceremony on March 19. In lieu of flowers, donations in Jane’s memory may be made to the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants or to the National Brain Tumor Society. To share a memory or leave an online condolence, email [email protected].
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this obituary, published in print on March 24, gave an incorrect date for the Blooms’ divorce; it was in 2000.
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