Students’ Art Work Featured at Bella’s Café in Barnegat

Jan 30, 2019
Courtesy of: Bella’s Cafe

In partnership with Barnegat Township schools, a local eatery is offering youngsters a chance to display their artwork.

Mark Falk, owner of Bella’s Café, said the display was made through an arrangement with Annette Tynan, fifth-grade teacher at the Robert L. Horbelt Elementary School. The art class for the students in grades K-5 focuses on a particular artist, and the students are assigned to copy a painting from that well-known figure as best as they can. The current display featuring 25 works is based on water lily paintings by Claude Monet.

“Many of them are then selected to hang on the walls at Bella’s Café for three to four months in recognition of their outstanding work,” said Falk. “When parents bring their student in to see their painting hanging on the wall, we make a big deal out of them by announcing that a ‘local artist’ is in the house and everyone cheers for them, which makes them feel very proud, of course.”

He said the parents take a picture of their student in front of their painting. They are asked to forward it to Tynan so the picture can be posted on the school’s website to again recognize the student’s accomplishment.

“The program is designed to help boost self-esteem and give the students a sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s wonderful to see the students smile from ear to ear when they come in and see their painting on the wall and we make a big deal out of them,” said Falk.

He said the display is consistent with the East Bay Avenue establishment’s ambience.

“It’s a comfy, cozy place to relax,” he said.

Bella’s opened in June,  specializing in high-end desserts and blended non-alcoholic drinks in an atmosphere “where you feel like you’re dining in someone’s home rather than an establishment.”

“We’ve also added full dinners and sandwiches to the menu,” said Falk.

“I’ve been friends with Mark and Dee (Mark’s wife), and I look for opportunities to reach out to businesses,” said Tynan. “Mark and Dee are also very supportive of our schools, so I approached my principal (Joseph Saxton) and he liked the idea.”

She added, “The children not only learn about the artist’s life, but what inspired them to create these paintings.”

— Eric Englund

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