Art - fostered & framed in Fremont

For the month of November, the owners of Frame Up Studios have filled their gallery space with colorful art works by the youngest artists in Fremont - students at B.F. Day Elementary School. An auction to purchase the works will run until the 28th of this month with 100 percent of the proceeds raised to support art at B.F. Day.

Gail Bradley, co-owner of Frame Up and a local instigator, selected the works. "Hearing about some of the things the school has to do without," motivated Gail, a working mom, to find a way she could help. "This was the best way to give back to the community - through art! Art is so huge to us and that they could be lacking..."

Since she and her husband Rob, bought Frame Up six years ago, they've supported numerous neighborhood projects. Not for the first time, Gail took the initiative and contacted the school - and their part-time art teacher, Robin Kinney Robbins. "I gave Gail a big folder of art, about 200 pieces, and they put together the show." The pieces came from students in kindergarten through fifth grades, with an emphasis on works with pleasing shapes and colors. Robin found the final show fun and fanciful, as well as reflective of the wide diversity of cultures and backgrounds of the children involved.

Gail sought to maintain that variety as she whittled 200 works down to the final 33 that appear in her gallery. "They are all forming their styles and learning the processes," of art, she explained. And with this show, Gail has officially launched 33 art careers - should the artists choose to follow up this achievement.

When I innocently asked if Gail envisions doing something like this annually, she looked momentarily startled - it has been a huge personal undertaking plus donation of the framing - but she instantly rallied. "Sure!" she said, "we can make it annual."

Susan McCloskey, principal at B.F. Day, related the excitement heard among the kids about the "other people looking at it." Beyond their parents, their teachers and even their peers, their works will be seen in an art gallery by everyone. It makes the experience more important, more profound and much more encouraging.

"The community involvement is fabulous," Robin praised. Susan takes note of the numerous ways our business community supports our public school. Marketime Foods has donation jars at their check-out counters to raise money for the 2006 school year after-school tutoring program - a recent victim of budget cuts. Adobe Systems, Getty Images and Cutter & Buck have all given generously through grants, gifts and tours. Our smaller businesses get involved each year in the B.F. Day Village Project. As Susan says, "we can call any business for help on the Village." Our businesses take it as their duty to help.

However, the Frame Up event recalled me to the recent overwhelming success of the Fremont Rotary Club project. Last year, the Rotary sponsored two scholarships at Dance Fremont!, our dance school, specifically for two students at B.F. Day - and gave dance to children otherwise prohibited from the experience by poverty. "Dance puts self-confidence in the kids," Susan remarked. It gives these children an outlet for their otherwise untapped talents and another measure of success. Last month the Rotary decided to continue the two original scholarships for another year, and to raise funds for two more.

"Businesses make B.F. Day the special school that it is," according to Susan. The opening night of the art show took place on November 4, the night of the First Friday Fremont Art Walk. It was also the night of the first of the three B.F. Day Family Dinners held each school year. Gail, Robin and Susan encouraged families to stroll down to the gallery after enjoying a New Orleans inspired dinner and music at the school.

If you want to see the art show, you still have a chance. Gail promises to keep the pieces on display all month, with many still available for purchase. If you need to see for yourself what a 'special school' B.F. Day really is, I recommend attending their next Family Dinner (this one an Open House) on February 10. As the dark winter evenings draw longer and longer, the laughter and joy of children - in person as well as captured in art - can brighten a dreary afternoon. Check it out and just try to prove me wrong.

Kirby Lindsay, a Fremont native, never grasped much beyond drawing sunshines with smiley faces. She invites your comments, on anything besides her visual art talents, at[[In-content Ad]]