The Fraser First Booster Club has installed several paintings by local artists on the athletics courts outside Fraser City Hall.

The Fraser First Booster Club has installed several paintings by local artists on the athletics courts outside Fraser City Hall.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Artists’ work displayed in Fraser in support of farmers market

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published September 9, 2021

 Local artist Sue Bertolini-Fox stands beneath her painting of a sunflower, one of more than 103 paintings installed to raise awareness for the Fraser farmers market.

Local artist Sue Bertolini-Fox stands beneath her painting of a sunflower, one of more than 103 paintings installed to raise awareness for the Fraser farmers market.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

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FRASER — Fraser residents can view a little local art posted in support of the local farmers market, thanks to the Fraser First Booster Club.

In totla, 103 paintings by local artists have been installed on the fences of the athletics courts outside Fraser City Hall, located at the intersection of 14 Mile Road and Garfield Road.

“It was our fourth year of doing some kind of art on this fence,” said Vania Apps, a Fraser First Booster Club founder and board member. “We don’t have a lot of art out in Fraser, so it’s kind of turned into a thing for our booster club to try and put some art out in the city.”

The Booster Club supports local projects and events in Fraser, notably the farmers market and the McKinley Barrier Free Park.

“The Fraser First Booster Club is a group that has been working on the McKinley Barrier Free Park, but we also started doing this fence art installation about four years ago,” Apps explained. “This (installation) was in support of our farmers market, and we asked the artists to paint what they think of when thinking about farmers markets. It started out with about eight paintings, and now we’re up to 103.”

The artists came from around Fraser, but the first were booster club members themselves.

“We started with our booster club members painting. Some of them came on, and then some people we all knew came on. Before we knew it, we had a nice collection of artists contributing their work,” Apps said. “More and more artists came on as we went on. What I was thrilled about was that so many at first said, ‘I can’t paint,’ but they came through and painted, they tried it out, and some even did multiple paintings up here on the fence. … I think they surprised themselves in a lot of cases and really expanded their creativity.”

She added that she was glad more youths have been getting involved this year.

“We also have some younger people whose work is on the fence, and the thing I love about them is that they never say that they can’t paint,” Apps remarked. “They always jump right in and try it. That filled me with so much joy.”

“I’m one of the people who can’t paint,” laughed artist Sue Bertolini-Fox. “Vania is the best cheerleader around. She can pull this art out of people. That park wouldn’t exist without her, and she helps pull people in and help.”

Bertolini-Fox said that most artists tried to capture the feeling of the farmers market by highlighting the fruits and vegetables sold there or the feeling of autumn in general.

“I painted a whole bunch. I did a big sunflower, a self-portrait where I’m holding a camera, three baskets of fruit and some radishes,” said Bertolini-Fox. “We wanted to keep it in connection with the farmers market, so we tried to focus on a lot of things connected to the farmers market or things with a fall theme like the paintings of gourds and sunflower seeds and apples and pumpkins.”

“There’s so much beauty and creativity up there,” Apps added. “What stood out to me in the contributors we got was that there were stories from people whose children are out of town and the virus was preventing them from seeing them often. They included that in some of the art. Others used the paintings to help them work through some of the angst or troubles in their lives. Once everybody started, it became a very personal project. That meant a lot to me.”

Her hope is that this will raise more support for the farmers market.

“It is just to raise awareness of the farmers market. It’s the second Saturday of every month,” Apps said. “We want people supporting their local farmers market and their local artists, too.”

The paintings will be on display until the end of October, although Apps said that date is liable to change depending on the weather.

“They will go back to artists when they come down, although some will be donated to the Roseville Community Garden,” Apps said. “Some of the artists have said they want to put them up in their own gardens, and some people have offered to buy them and give the money to the artists or to the booster club.”

Both women stressed that projects like this can be very important for a community like Fraser.

“This adds beauty to an otherwise sparse-looking fence,” Bertolini-Fox said. “People who come to the city to pay their water bills or do city business or come to the pickleball court have something to look at.”

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