With all of their art

Alice Asmar discovered that Italy started art day long before Glendale did, when an elevator man saw her carrying paintbrushes in an elevator and blessed her hands for being an artist at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. She is a community participant in this year's Art Day, founded by Glendale resident Becky Mate in 1998.

“Art Day is like Valentine's Day or Arbor Day,” Mate said. “Instead of hugging your sweetheart or a tree, you hug an artist.” Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero awarded Mate with a proclamation Tuesday that recognized the holiday in Glendale, which falls on Aug. 14. He is the fourth mayor in a row to proclaim Art Day.

“I think art enriches the healing spirit,” he said. “It lets our residents express themselves, and other people get to enjoy their work.”

Artists are not appreciated enough and are often stereotyped as being “crazy,” Mate said, but everywhere artists go, they uplift the community.

This year, she will continue her annual Art and Chocolate celebration on Art Day, where she will host a potluck and an art hunt for children. Asmar will be the hostess and Mate will turn her apartment into a venue for artists to display their work.

Marina Rehrmann, a painter from Glendale, will be showing a few of her pieces at Mate's community celebration. Last year, she featured eight of her art pieces at the potluck.

“It was nice to have people look at my work,” she said. “That's the least that could happen for an artist.” She has been working as an artist for two years now, but it's difficult to find spaces to display her work, said Rehrmann, who is a member of the Burbank Art Assn.

“There aren't enough galleries here [in Glendale],” she said. “There is not much opportunity to show my work.”

She has found other professional avenues for her work. One of her pieces was recently rented out to the movie “Alvin the Chipmunks.”

Mate hopes to make Art Day bigger and better in the future. She is promoting Art Day via her online group, Artists for a Better World.

“With my vision for the future of Art Day, I would like to see all businesses and stores and restaurants promoting it,” she said. “It will put Glendale on the map as being home of Art Day.”

Art Day has been recognized in other parts of the world, besides Glendale, Mate said. A woman from Mauritius, an island off of Madagascar, visited the website to find out how to have an Art Day party, she said.

“It's just an example of how far-reaching it could be,” Mate said.

Aside from her annual apartment party, Mate worked in conjunction with Julie Snyder to host a paint-out at the Americana at Brand last year, where 30 artists gathered to paint various architectural elements of the Americana. This showed a marked increase from the year before when 14 artists painted a model at the Glendale Galleria.

This year, Mate is encouraging people to send in handmade postcards or envelopes, or what she refers to as “mail art.” She did this in 2005 and ended up receiving art from Malaysia, Brazil, France and Texas.

“The celebration can be worldwide,” she said. “A lot of people ask me where it is, but it's not an event.”

Asmar said Art Day should happen all over the globe.

“Not only should you hug an artist, but buy a painting as well,” she said. “Artists have to pay the bills, too.”

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