A friend of the arts

Jane Friend is the type of volunteer who just can't say no.

In between traveling and painting, the artist has devoted time to serving on the Associates of Brand Library's Board of Directors for 35 years and was the president for four years in a row.

For 32 years, the 88-year-old Glendale resident had been in charge of the group's national juried art show, Works on Paper. She started the exhibit with another local artist Betty Crosby.

Friend said she's always been a mover and shaker, no matter what group it is.

"I always put up my hand and said I'd do it," Friend said.

Friend and five others will be honored for their dedication to fine art at the Diamond Awards for Achievement in the Arts reception from 6 to 8 p.m. today in the Brand Library Recital Hall.

Friend is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I was flabbergasted to hear that I won," she said. "I think it's rather nice they are honoring people in the arts. Art never seems to be quite important to a city. Funds for the arts are always being cut, so it's nice they are recognizing the artists."

Friend has been a teacher at the Creative Arts Center in Burbank for more than 30 years. She teaches watercolor, and has also taught printmaking with monotypes.

"She likes to teach her students new and innovative things," said Barbara Rog, recreation program specialist for the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department at the Creative Arts Center, who has known her for 26 years. "I walk through her classrooms and you can tell the people really enjoy being in her class."

Many of her students have taken classes from her for more than 20 years, Rog said.

Painting is Friend's first love, she said. Her inspiration comes from flowers in her garden or her travels around the world.

"I'm more of a realist than I was in earlier days," she said. "My paintings are never too abstract. I appreciate all kinds of art ? landscapes, flowers in my garden and other still life. I have a series called 'Morning Walk' that depicts walks I've taken behind Brand Library."

One of her first shows at Brand Galleries was of gothic cathedrals that she painted after a trip to Europe.

Friend has been a member of the Burbank Art Assn. for 40 years. She is on the board of directors for Watercolor West, a national organization, and is a member of Women Painters West, the National Watercolor Society and others.

The daughter of architect J.F. Hare, who designed homes in the 1920s in Altadena and Pasadena, Friend has always done art, she said.

In grammar school, she often painted murals on subjects the class was studying at the time, she said. She studied art for two years at Pasadena Junior College and studied at Art Center College of Design for two more years. She obtained her teacher's credential for art from UCLA.

Friend was unanimously selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award because of her 30-plus years of generous service in several capacities for the Brand Library, said Eve Rappoport, community services supervisor for Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department.

"She was the driving force for the annual Works on Paper exhibition at Brand that evolved into an international juried competition," Rappoport said. "She continues to be a working artist and still energetically contributes to the arts community."

Rappoport and Razmik Grigorian, immediate past chairman of the city of Glendale's Arts and Culture Commission, came up with idea for the awards program.

"We hope to increase the awareness of the wealth of wonderfully talented and generous people we have in the Glendale arts community," she said. "We also hope that by recognizing contributors to the arts community, it might increase volunteerism and businesses' participation of the arts."

Nominations were taken in six categories, and small panels of community people reviewed the nominations, Rappoport said.

FYI

WHO: The city of Glendale Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Arts and Culture Commission

WHAT: First Diamond Awards for Achievement in the Arts reception

WHEN: 6 to 8 p.m. today

WHERE: in the Brand Library recital hall, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale.

WINNERS: David Vartanyan, Young Artist category; Mikayel Avetisyan, Artist; Lark Musical Society, Arts Organization; Ted Osborn, Special Recognition; Edwin and Hilda Navasartian, Arts Partners ? Individual; and Jane Friend, Lifetime Achievement

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