Framing a Donation to School Art Programs

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

April 19, 2024

From left: Los Osos Middle School Principal, Karl Blum; Monarch Grove Elementary Principal, Katie Salcido; Gary J. Freiberg; and Baywood Elementary Principal, Kirstin May, are framed by some of the 240 magazine art frames donated to the schools by Freiberg and his son Dylan, who is not pictured because he was in Japan. Photo by Neil Farrell

A Los Osos man and his son have given local school kids something to help them shine in art class, something he personally co-invented.

Los Osos resident, Gary J. Freiberg and his son Dylan, donated some 240 magazine-sized art frames to Baywood and Monarch Grove Elementary schools and Los Osos Middle School, 80 for each school.

The art frames, which Freiberg said he invented in 1998 and had been selling online for 24 years before ending the business in 2022. The clear plastic frames were originally intended and sized to hold and protect album covers, Freiberg said. He also made them comic-book size and for magazine covers and playbills, he explained. When they decided to end the business, they sold out all of the frames except the magazine sized ones, he said. 

“We had the business for 24 years,” he said. “I sold it to my son in 2021; we closed it in 2022 due to manufacturing and shipping changes.”

He added that for the past five years, he’s been having them manufactured in China. The frames, Freiberg said retailed for $14.95 each.

In its heyday the frames were a part of music history. “The Record Album Frames were sold at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Graceland,” Freiberg said, “and were shipped around the country and internationally.” 

Graceland of course is in Memphis, Tenn., and the former home of the King, Elvis Presley. It’s now a major tourist attraction and museum dedicated to Elvis’ extraordinary life. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio. You’ll find Elvis celebrated there, too.

So, what does someone do with 16 cases of art frames? He naturally passes them on. 

“Dylan and I are pleased we found a good use for the remaining inventory of magazine frames,” he said, “and give the opportunity for the schools to display their students’ art in a better way than magnets on a refrigerator.”

The frames will be used by each school’s art programs, for example, Monarch Grove Principal, Katie Salcido, said they would use them for the school’s big Art Showcase Night. 

LOMS Principal, Karl Blum said his school’s art program will make good use of the frames, which have a black mat on one side and white on the flip side. It’s really a convenient way to display artwork or even magazine covers, the original intended purpose. “The frames are easy to change the artwork,” Freiberg said.

Art class is big at local schools, especially the middle school, which uses the STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math — method of teaching, so art remains an emphasis there, as well as the high school in Morro Bay.

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