Fall/Winter 2022 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

What I love most about this time of year, is the opportunity to give. I get so much joy when I can deliver a homemade treat to celebrate someone’s special day or when someone is having a bad day and it cheers them up. This is a trait I inherited from my sweet mother. She would squirrel away little trinkets that she found in her travels, not with a particular recipient in mind, but something she found interesting and would make a nice gift. Occasionally, she would tuck a little piece of scrap paper with a name of who the gift should be given to.

The problem was she suffered from dementia for 20+ years and when she would put them in a “safe place” she would not remember where that was. She passed away 2 ½ years ago and I am still finding little treasures as I sort through her things. I believe that “things” should be shared, so I spend a portion of my day finding homes for items my parents have collected. It’s emotional to let go of them because they are part of my childhood, but if I “gift” the items they will continue making memories for someone else. When we were little, we would go to the Alameda Flea Market, hunting for tin toys, gumball machines, Coca Cola TV trays and Pepsi wall clocks. Now, I get the pleasure of gifting these collectables to other “antique” hunters and gatherers. I thrive when I can place an orphaned keepsake in a new home.

There is also the art collection that my mom and dad amassed through friendships, swapping their works with other artists. So many of the works are personalized with witty notes of admiration from one artist to another, sometimes so clever I can just imagine the fun they had receiving them. My parents had an extraordinary Poker gang of four couples, all artists and educators, and they would play quarterly: each couple hosting once a year, providing dinner, lots of candy and merriment. Handmade hostess gifts which remain are the items that I can’t part with, so I will share them with my children to keep as examples of gifts with everlasting memories.

I absolutely love this time of year and its spirit of giving and joy. I look forward to neighborhood festivities, baking endless batches of cookies, singing in the grocery store aisles to recorded holiday tunes. Referred to as “The Season of Giving” we give thanks, we give parties, we give gifts and twenty-two years ago, I gave birth to twins. I get so excited thinking about finding just the perfect gift to surprise my kids…. something needed but not expected. It’s hard to describe the way it makes me feel to watch as a gift is opened, and a genuine smile emerges from a jubilant face. I am giddy when I have an opportunity to give someone something that fills their heart, makes their day, benefits their family, or simply makes them smile. However, giving does not need to include a physical object. Sometimes the best gift is something that makes the recipient feel loved, feel worthy of receiving it, feel seen and acknowledged. These are gifts of compassion, gifts of time, gifts of emotional or physical support. A gift can be a kind word, a hand to hold, an apology, a pat on the back. Not everyone is able to give gifts with monetary value, but we all can give gifts of meaning that has apositive effect on the recipient.

This year, our foundation is giving the gift of art education resources. Our gift is for teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and educators to use so that they can give to their students. In turn, they can give a gift of creativity, a gift of praise for a project, a gift of an exercise to express emotions, a gift of pride for their individuality. The newly launched Mel & Leta Ramos Virtual Education Center is a dream come true. Through a collaboration with the Crocker Art Museum and their incredible team of brilliant educators, director of Education, and school program coordinators, we have built a resource center stocked with a growing catalogue of educational tools, gifted to teachers to share with their students.

My wish for you this holiday season is that you are the recipient of abundant joy, health and well-being, and the greatest
gift of all. LOVE.

Rochelle Leininger
Founder and CEO
The Mel and Leta Ramos Family Foundation

***Spotlight Teaching Artist: Susana Veiga Neuhaus Denchasy***

Susana Veiga Neuhaus Denchasy is a Brazilian born / American artist, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her paintings are inspired by her life on the water, parenthood, and adaptation to life’s challenges that comes with immigration, trauma, climate change, and life transitions.

Sea Lungs. Oil on Canvas. 2022

Her paintings embody the memories of time marked by the movement of the waters. The environment for her is the center of her gravitational force within her own existence, which is not separated from painting. Neuhaus uses color, form, gesture, and brush marks to express transitional feelings, the passage of time, the cycle of life, death, mutation, and rebirth. Neuhaus received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University East Bay in 2022.

Susana’s lesson plan taught to the 6th grade class at Tyrrell Elementary School is titled Object in Detail, about which she writes: “By drawing 4 objects, one in each square helps us to think about composition. The placement of each object, how can we create a composition that helps the eye to go to the entire picture and comes back to the beginning? The choice of colors used on the squares in combination with the colors we paint each object helps us to learn principles of painting, such as color interaction. I talked about what happens if we look at a color wheel and choose the opposite colors from the color wheel. How the colors pop when are against the opposite color in the color wheel.”

The Ramos Family Foundation will be supporting four Teaching Artist Opportunities for students at Cal State University East Bay for the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters, as well as two Juried Rising Student Awards.
All these incredible opportunities could not be possible without the generous support of our donors, big and small. I am dedicated to fulfilling our mission to ensure that our youth have access to an arts education and that educators have the resources to teach, encourage creativity, provide an outlet for ideas and emotions, and to acknowledge the talent inside every child!

Your donation to the Ramos Family Foundation helps us to continue to fund students like Susana Veiga Neuhaus
Denchasy through our scholarship Program at Cal State University East Bay.

Donate online here
You can also donate by sending a check to: Ramos Family Foundation: 5941 Ocean View Drive, Oakland, CA 94618

We have LAUNCHED!!! The Mel and Leta Ramos Family Virtual Education Center is LIVE!!

Visit vec.crockerart.org to see our site

On November 4th the Crocker Art Museum hosted a launch party to reveal our Virtual Education Center. The guest list was comprised primarily of educators from Sacramento State University and the surrounding unified school districts along with special donors and supporters of our project. The guests were treated to a hosted cocktail social hour and dinner party, followed by an inspirational presentation by Veronica Hicks, PhD who is an Assistant Professor of Art Education at Sacramento State University. Ms. Hicks spoke about the importance and necessity of exposing students to art and recognized the need to support the educators and their commitment to arts education. Her presentation mirrored our mission statement – “to ensure that all youth have access to an arts education by supporting the transmission of the visual arts in all its forms.

The Virtual Resource Center is a free resource for teachers, parents, homeschoolers, and other educators who are looking to integrate art into their classroom, home, or community. The resource section allows for easy access to lesson plans, discussion questions, step-by-step instructions and materials lists as well as the ability to communicate with other educators to share and exchange ideas.

Below is a sample of the lesson plan based on Mel Ramos’ “The Atom” painting which was a gift to the Crocker Art Museum from Wayne Thiebaud…a teacher, a mentor, and dear friend of the Ramos family.

A very special thanks to Kevin Hughey/Hughey Gentry LLP and David Austin/Austin Art Projects for their extremely generous donations which enabled us to reach our fundraising goal to build the Mel & Leta Ramos Family Virtual Education Center. Your donation to the Ramos Family Foundation helps us continue to fund the Virtual Education Center so that we can continually add additional content, lesson plans, resources and instruction.

Your donation to the Ramos Family Foundation helps us to continue to fund the Virtual Education Center so that we can continually add additional content, lesson plans, resources and instruction.

Donate online here
You can also donate by sending a check to: Ramos Family Foundation: 5941 Ocean View Drive, Oakland, CA 94618

Good Tidings We Bring

***We were featured on the cover of my neighborhood newspaper*** Read the full article www.yourmonthlypaper.com

***We awarded two graduating UC Berkeley students with the Ramos Family exhibition awards***

Undergrads Albie Cartagenas and Kahalla Bandy-Pasibe were presented with the awards at the graduation ceremony in May.

Kahalla is a Queer, transdimensional creator, Seed Keeper, and healer born in the Bay area, based in Huichin/Oakland. their current practice facilitates Ancestral care and somatic-spiritual retrieval at the intersections of communal mural and sculpture work, classroom teaching, and training in Indigenous healing arts. More of their work and process can be found on Instagram at @maangohoney .

***Artist in Residence*** Candidates chosen

In the New Year, we will welcome 2 new “Artists in Residence” in the Ramos
home studio.

Susana Veiga Neuhaus Denchasy and Pres Grbich (pictured here with his illustration) will add energy and creativity to Mel’s
studio, breathing new life into the space.

Gabriel Navar will continue his residency in perpetuity.

Our family is incredibly grateful for your continued support as we continue to honor the legacy of our parents. Their passion for art and education lives on in the students we sponsor, the projects we support and the creativity we hope to encourage in young artists of all ages.