Council Hails ‘Barbara Cram Appreciation Day’

BARB CRAM (left) has always been a fan of the arts, whether in her work for Falls Church Arts or attending a FIRSTfriday event at Art and Frame Falls Church back in January, seen here with Mayor David Tarter (right) and gallery owner Tom Gittins. (Photo: Courtesy Shaun Van Steyn)

Thursday, May 28, was the first ever Barbara Cram Day in the City of Falls Church.

The F.C. City Council set aside a heavy agenda of business items Tuesday night to attend first to the matter of adopting a proclamation declaring today “Barbara Cram Appreciation Day” in honor of the long-time City resident and extraordinary civic icon and “urging all residents to observe the day and recognize Barb Cram as a model citizen serving her family, church and community in an exemplary way.”

The entire Council was in complete concord affirming and highlighting her many achievements here since moving to the Falls Church area in 1978 and into the City in 1986, when she “brought her generosity, resourcefulness, and high energy to preserve and promote the character of the City and to make it the hometown that we all love.” The last three years she’s been saddled with a persisting illness.

The Council took turns Tuesday reading from sections of the lengthy proclamation.

Perhaps her biggest official honors were to be named the Falls Church City Council’s “Pillar of the Community” and the Falls Church Village Preservation and Improvement Society’s “Spirit of Falls Church” award winner. Concerning her tireless volunteerism and relentless good cheer, “Everything she touches gets better,” said long-time City Councilman David Snyder in supporting the proclamation.

The proclamation states that “she brought her business, Greenscape, to the City and demonstrated that creativity and quality mattered in all things, and was a stalwart for the business community, serving on the Public Private Partnership, the City’s Tricentennial Committee, and working tirelessly for the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce.”

It adds, “She actively promoted the Falls Church sense of place by creating and caring for downtown flower baskets and banners and being a generous promoter of our parks and gardens and served as chair and organizing force of the Watch Night Falls Church Celebration for nearly a decade, creating a tradition of festive vitality to ring in each new year.

“She was the organizing founder of the Little City CATCH Foundation, and was a leader in creating the City’s Arts and Humanities Council, serving as chair and advocating for outstanding public art.”

Also, it says, “She was active in the development of the Art Space and as president of the Falls Church Arts for the last 10 years, she has led its impressive growth, so the gallery is now regionally recognized and a very highly regarded asset for the community.”

“As an enthusiastic community volunteer,” it continues, “Barb’s legacy of service is inspirational to all who know her and her mastery of bringing people together to accomplish remarkable things is recognized by the community and has engendered the love and appreciation of so many people in Falls Church.”

Vice Mayor Marybeth Connelly commented that Cram is “a model for volunteerism and community spirit” and that her enthusiasm for that is “contagious.”

Councilman Ross Litkenhous said she “is a role model for my three kids,” Letty Hardi called her a “volunteer extraordinaire,” and Phil Duncan said “all us Duncans owe you” for her many contributions. Mayor David Tarter said that she “is a doer, not just a talker.”

Sally Cole, executive director of the F.C. Chamber of Commerce wrote her board about the proclamation yesterday, “I would like to suggest that tomorrow, we all do something to celebrate Barb Cram Appreciation Day – tend to some flowers, do some volunteer work, donate to a cause you believe in, patronize a local business, call an old friend, compliment someone, tell someone you love them, or just keep a positive outlook. Better yet, spend the day as Barb ordinarily would and do all of these things.”