All successful enterprises begin with a
Anne Strebe, of Venezuela, is the creative genius behind the vision,
which has become Tole Friends. Anne wished to bring together decorative
painters from around the world. She envisioned an environment
of friendship, education, information and guidance for artists of all
Combined with the far reaching possibilities of the world wide web and
Anne's vision, Tole Friends now reaches decorative artists around the
world and has been the vehicle for creating hundreds of friendships
which might never have been possible.
In November 2000, Anne put her vision in motion by creating an email
mailing list. Within a very short time, hundreds of people were
sending emails offering painting tips and information. Tole Friends
members are able to ask questions about painting dilemmas
and usually within hours, have answers to their questions. Discussions
about brushes and their uses, the various painting mediums and proper
surface preparation are just a few of the many topics that are covered
on the mailing list.
The website was launched April 15th 2001 with work done during many
sleepless nights by designing the website and Karen Chase designing
the logo, which is also the permanent listpin for members. Since it's
beginning our website is a true sample of how artists can work together
in an on-line community, as the persons involved in it's creation live
in Utah, Florida and Venezuela. Volunteers from other parts of the USA,
Canada, Australia and Europe joined as the need arose.
In November 2001, Tole Friends Association became incorporated, and
was subsequently accepted by the IRS as a non-profit organization.
All monies donated to Tole Friends and the net result of the money raised
through various fundraisers, are used for educational services, maintaining
the website, events benefiting members and office expenses. All
work behind the scenes is done by highly dedicated volunteers.
One of the most important aspects of Tole Friends is education.
Anne envisioned being able to reach decorative artists who, because
of health, financial constraints or living in a remote area, were unable
to attend traditional classes, seminars and conventions. In response
to this very large need, Tole Friends offers interactive on-line topic
chats, organized by a volunteer on a monthly basis.
In addition, in January 2003 an Education Committee was formed, comprised
totally of volunteers. The Education Committee offers 2 publications
downloadable lessons, each with a specific learning value of a technique
"Fast & Easy" painting project
articles about history of Decorative Painting
articles about techniques used in Decorative Painting
articles introducing products, tools, programs related to Decorative
A program to bring recuit new painters and make these interested in
further learning was funded by the Tole Friends Education Fund and run
in 2003 in connection with the Society of Decorative
Painters Learn to Paint Program.
Tole Friend's charity program is participation in the Memory Box Program.
The Tole Friends party in Indianapolis 2003 was the launching pad for
Tole Friends' commitment to the Memory Box Program. Participants
of the party painted memory boxes that were later donated to various
hospitals to be distributed to families who had suffered the tragic
loss of a baby.
The Tole Friends website holds many informative and interesting pages.
There are links to hundreds of websites geared specifically to the decorative
painter. Free patterns, lessons, tips and supply sources are just
a sampling of the many pages on this well planned website.
Anne's vision and the selfless commitment of the many volunteers have
made Tole Friends the most educational and accessible online community
for decorative artists worldwide.