(Former) Professional Artist.
That is the headline on Valerie Frischmann’s own website. And yet, over the past few months, staff members at St. John’s Home have done their best to help Valerie once again experience the thrill of a gallery opening and enjoy the recognition that comes when a working artist publicly shares his/her work.
Family members describe Valerie’s career as a painter as “prolific and well-recognized” and her work has hung on the walls of art galleries across the Northeast, including the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Still, Valerie’s son Sean calls much of her time as a painter “hobby-oriented” in nature. “If she could have painted every day, she would have,” says Sean. “But she always had a lot going on.”
To illustrate Valerie’s balancing of her painter’s palette with a full plate of other interests and responsibilities, consider that she studied Fine Art at SUNY Potsdam and won awards as top artist while also pursuing a nursing degree. She worked as a hospital nurse after graduation before starting a family—one that would grow to 8 children! During these busy times she painted when she could. Valerie utilized all sorts of mediums, with an affinity for pastels.
Later on, Valerie was able to find a day job that truly complimented her desire to paint. Her work with a travel agency gave her not only more time but greater inspiration for putting brush to paper. “She was able to travel more than others,” says Sean. “As a result she could paint her experiences.”
Much of Valerie’s work that is displayed on her website and on exhibit (and for sale) at the Artisan’s Loft in Pultneyville, New York is landscape paintings inspired by her travels. However, Valerie’s most recent art exhibit is meant to provide the best representation of her entire career’s work. This spring, St. John’s Dementia Quality of Life Specialist Mimi DeVinney began efforts to collect meaningful pieces from Valerie’s portfolio to display in the art gallery on the first floor of St. John’s Home. DeVinney frequently leads “Art in the Studio” classes for residents and soon became aware of Valerie’s painting prowess.
Soon, the resident gallery at St. John’s was filled with beautiful portraits, landscapes, sketches, and other original pieces created by Valerie. Earlier this summer, Valerie’s family and friends joined her for a reception to celebrate the gallery opening. On that day—and ever since—family members have noticed the joy in her face when she sees her work on display. “It’s great to see the interest in her art that St. John’s has put in.”
While it is true that Valerie is no longer actively producing paintings, that does not mean interest in her work has faded. In addition to her St. John’s exhibit, Valerie’s work has continued to attract interest with art collectors, with one painting recently selling to Syracuse University Men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim and his wife Julie. You can even find her award-winning painting “Ballet Dancer” on the website of the Rochester Art Club—a group she was involved with for years.