August 11, 2006 – Glendale, CA: This year there were some firsts in the ongoing project by writer Becky Mate, of Artists for a Better World International, to expand an international day dedicated to the arts and artists of all disciplines. These firsts are a microcosm of what could be when artists all over the world celebrate Art Day annually on the second Friday in August.
In the US, Secretaries Day brought appreciation for secretaries. Art Day was conceived to bring appreciation for artists and their role in shaping our culture.
In developing the Art Day holiday, Mate herself has pioneered celebration of such a day since 1998 with backyard parties, a small arts festival and her family enjoying art together. “This shows people they can create events for publicity or fun anchored around Art Day,” said Mate, whose own party had double attendance this year. Attendees were apartment neighbors, nearby residents in the community, fellow members of C.A.F.E. artists, members of Alameda Writers Group, church friends, supporters and the Director of a local theatre, long-time Art Day aficionados and their friends and children.
These are the accomplishments, the firsts, of Art Day 2006:
1. OFFICIAL RECOGNITION. Previously, grass roots celebration of Art Day took place in isolated places in the US, Russia, Canada, Belize, Peru, Brazil Malaysia, France, England, etc. This year, the day was made official, at the suggestion of Councilman Rafi Manoukian, by Mayor Weaver of Glendale, California, an artist himself, who issued a Proclamation naming Friday, August 11, 2006 as Art Day and establishing Glendale as the “Home of Art Day.”
2. ARTS FUNDED. One of the purposes of Art Day is to bring funding to the arts. Luna Playhouse is a new theatre in Glendale, which will have performances in English, Armenian and Spanish starting in September 2006. Their renovation budget did not take into account the number of toilets required by the city, so gallery-acclaimed photographer Boris Tahmasian brought a large framed Maine lighthouse print for a Silent Auction to the BBQ given by the Founder of Art Day. The entire proceeds from the sale of the photo went to the Luna Playhouse. It was bought by Glendale resident Phil Deland who had recently given a Toastmaster’s speech about Pemaquid Point where the lighthouse sits.
3. ART EDUCATION PROMOTED. In the interest of arts education, at the BBQ in Mate’s apartment backyard, a budding visual artist wanting to learn how to paint better was given information about Mission: Renaissance, the largest fine arts school with over 20 locations.
4. ARTIST SUPPORT GROUPS PROMOTED. Another purpose of Art Day is to bring about awareness of artist groups that help artists. An informal art raffle was held at the Art Day party, sponsored by Artists for a Better World International. Besides the original items, artists gave unsolicited raffle donations including a CD of music and poetry by Marcielle Brandler, a romance novel called “50/50 Split” by Rick Mizuno, a flower photo by Paul Huth, a steel horse magnet by Archie Glazier and a screenplay by Cheri Quest and John Robert Christopher. One of the raffle items was a mug from Alameda Writers Group, a Glendale-based association, which helps writers up to the next level. The first attendee, Marcielle Brandler, suggested that the winning raffle ticket holder be allowed to choose from the table of art gifts. This suggestion was taken over that of Elroy Mathijsen, an attendee from the Netherlands, who said that in his home country a field is marked into squares, each square is numbered and a cow is sent in. The first cow patty marks the spot of the raffle winner. Seeing as they had no cow, Marcielle’s suggestion won out and pleased attendees left with a varied assortment of artworks.
5. ARTIST PR GENERATED. Art Day is an opportunity to provide publicity for individual artists and their work. Whereas there have been news articles about Art Day, this year marks the first year where seven artists were mentioned by name in the Los Angeles Times Saturday, August 12, 2006 issue, in the Glendale News-Press section. The works of these seven artists were promoted because of their association with the new Art Day holiday. The artists receiving such publicity were Tina Tashjian for her paintings, Boris Tahmasian for his photography, Leslie Silton for her art cards, Rick Mizuno for his novel and upcoming screenplay, Claudia Perez Brooks for her music, Shery Miljoner for her jewelry and, of course, Becky Mate for her writing.
6. WORLDWIDE EVENTS HELD. As Art Day catches on, it is expected that there will be more and more people producing events of their own. In 2006, musician Isaac Watts brought up the fact he wanted to have a special Art Day concert with the aim of steering troubled teens away from suicide. Edgar Vega of Puerto Rico loved the idea of Art Day and threw his own BBQ in celebration. An Art Day party took place in Tennessee. A fellow shopper inquired about the Indonesian puppets Becky Mate bought and was told, “The Mayor of Glendale declared Friday as Art Day, so I’m having an Art Party.” The shopper said, “I should have an Art Party, too!” It is the thing to do.
7. AMBASSADOR OF ART DEPLOYED. This year the title of Art Day Ambassador was created. The first to be named such was Regina Tercero, Art Day Ambassador to the Philippines, who attended a school reunion and promoted the Art Day holiday. The Art Day Ambassadors are ambassadors representing the international community of artists of all disciplines.
8. FOREIGN RECOGNITION. This was the first year that Becky Mate was offered an award from another country for starting Art Day. Cathy Bird of the St. Hill Arts Festival in England said, “We want to acknowledge all those who have started or founded Arts Festivals and your Art Day must be the Festival to end all festivals!!! And we want to raise awareness about Art Day, too!” This award signifies that the concept of artist appreciation is international in scope.
9. MULTI-CULTURAL SUPPORT. This is the first year that a national radio show has offered to promote Art Day in another tongue than English. Daniel Ortiz of W Radio 690AM became interested in airing the news after seeing the Proclamation of Art Day by the Mayor of Glendale, and was put in touch with Claudia Perez Brooks, the Spanish Spokesperson for Art Day.
10. WEBSITE UP. This is the first year that Art Day has an official website. Go to virtueinthearts.com.
11. CHILDREN CONTRIBUTION. Stella Grigoryan had brought her three young children to the Founder’s Art Day party for the two prior years. They looked forward to this year and kept bugging their mother to remember to bring them. It is a first that one of the girls brought three paintings she had made to show at Art Day. They were proudly hung near the children’s art activities table.
12. PATRONAGE STIMULATED. Ricki Hall went on the Internet to buy a painting in celebration of Art Day.