Andre Franco and Rocky Law: Half Moon Bay patrons of the arts
by Dyane Hendricks
Think of great art patrons and names that come to mind are J. Paul Getty, Lucille Packard — and Andre Franco and Mary “Rocky” Law. Business owners known for gathering friends and colleagues every Friday night for after-work drinks, the couple is a stalwart of the arts, particularly on the San Mateo County Coastside.
“We enjoy art and the personalities attached to art here,” said Franco.
“We’re really very fortunate to be living here where art just flourishes,” said Law.
They said that they prefer realistic art to abstract, but some abstract work can be found within their collection of watercolors, pen and ink drawings, oils and sculptures.
Their collection began even before they met, said Law. “Andre was buying art from San Francisco street artists,” said Law. When they started dating and eventually married, they visited art fairs and attended the San Francisco Opera as well as stage shows.
Law and Franco have been residents of Half Moon Bay for 22 years, and their preference for local artists is evidenced by their collection, and by their attendance at the Coastal Repertory Theatre, the Bach Dining and Dynamite Society, and any performance that is Coastside. Original paintings and prints by January Hooker, Sharon Scott, Bruce Marion, Teresa Brown and an artist known simply as Yanush cover their home and office walls. “All of them either live on the Coastside now and or did at one time,” said Franco.
Law recalled how they met Scott. Franco and Law were having dinner at the San Benito House in Half Moon Bay. Impressed with the artwork, they asked the bartender who the artist was, and discovered they were talking to her. As they paid their check, they found themselves walking out the door with an original Sharon Scott. They began collecting January Hooker’s work when Franco came across a sale of her prints.
“When Peggy Erickson had her gallery in Half Moon Bay, Andre would go down there on Saturday and spend hours bantering about the exact kind of frame a picture needed,” Law said. She and Franco will always remember the late Peggy Erickson for what she did for local artists, giving them an opportunity to share their talents with the community. “She was an icon for the art world in Half Moon Bay,” Law said.
Franco and Law say art is a wonderful escape. “Art is important because it focuses the beauty around us,” said Law. Pointing to a painting over her kitchen sink, she said, “You can be washing the dishes and looking at that picture and suddenly you are on that beach in Mendocino.”
Franco and Law encourage residents to support the arts in their local communities. “Go to the plays and the musicals; tell your friends and everyone at work about different shows that are happening,” Law said.
They also are strong supporters of the arts in schools, believing that schools should be supported by the community, especially now that art funding is suffering particular losses. “We’ve been fortunate that the school district administration and the community have always been supportive of the high school art department,” said Law.
“Creativity is stifled when students are deprived of art,” agreed Franco. A former Parent Action Committee member at the Half Moon Bay High School, Franco worked with teacher Margaret Lindsey to start a program that helps buy supplies for students not able to afford art classes.
“You can support the arts by encouraging kids to somehow pursue their talents,” Law said. “They just need encouragement.”
While Franco and Law disclaim any artistic talent, they proudly point to their son Dwayne, a gifted artist, musician and writer — and a collector in his own right. “When he was eight, we took Dwayne to a Gallery Hop in Half Moon Bay. He saw a picture that he really wanted and bought it with his allowance money,” Law said. Dwayne is now in college, and his artwork hangs in his old bedroom.
“Art is entertaining and it’s fun,” said Franco, adding that art brings together like souls whether they are artists or audience.