California State Christmas Card for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver. December, 2008.

Mouth and Foot Painting Artists [Member] Dennis A. Francesconi gets a special honor with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver.

Above: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dennis & Kristi Francesconi, with Jim & Pat Venturi. — Below: with First Lady Maria Shriver.

“Well, what can I say, this has been such a tremendous honor for myself and Kristi, as well as for the MFPA. I have to say that the Governor and First Lady are truly remarkable people. We had the pleasure of meeting with them and found that they were very gracious, thankful, and showed great interest in our lives. First, we had a wonderful visit with the First Lady, and a short time later we were joined by the Governor. For us, it was a crossing of paths and a special evening that we shall never forget. Thank you both so very much.”

** Also, many thanks to the staff at the Governor’s and First Lady’s office for your kindness.

*The 2008 California State Christmas card.

**The wonderful credit printed on the ‘inside left’ of card.

And a special thanks to Trish Fontana [Director of Special Projects in the office of First Lady Maria Shriver] for putting this all together…;]

Below is a look at the press generated so far.

An excerpt from The Sacramento Bee: [Published: Tuesday, Dec. 09, 2008]

“Maria and I know that in California, everyone can prosper and be celebrated for their great talents,” said Schwarzenegger. “… This year, we decided to select a fellow Californian who expresses determination through adversity to make dreams come true.”

Also, there’s a particular highlight from the tree lighting ceremony – First Lady Maria Shriver talked about the holiday card and mentioned Dennis in her speech. Included is an excerpt below.

“…And I also just want to — there’s a special individual who is here this evening, whose name is Dennis Francesconi, and he has painted the governor’s Christmas card that is sent out to so many people this holiday season, along with a gift card to  members of the National Guard who are deployed overseas. And I would just like to point him out. I don’t know where Dennis is — there’s Dennis. Dennis is in a wheelchair, he had a water-ski accident when he was 17 years of age, and he painted the most extraordinary Christmas tree on the California Christmas card. It’s of a Christmas tree, and he did it with his mouth. And it is an extraordinary portrait, and to spend any time with this man is an inspiration. (Applause)

I said to my kids, “I don’t want to hear one more yip out of you when you tell me you can’t do something,” because he learned to write with his mouth and he learned to paint with his mouth, and he now makes a living as an incredible California artist. So any of you who have the opportunity to see his work or meet him tonight, and his wife Kristi, do yourself a favor to meet an inspirational Californian. Take a minute. It’s our pleasure to have your work on the California governor’s Christmas card and for you to be here this evening, so thank you again. (Applause) …And now it’s my great privilege to introduce your governor, the People’s Governor…”

Press: December 2008,

Newspapers / Magazines:

The Sacramento Bee: [online]

*The above piece was also published on four web sites in Spain, and one in Australia.:

discapnet.es [Madrid], ecodiario.es [Madrid], solidaridaddigital.discapnet.es [Spain], imsersounifor.org [Spain], and mdaa.org [Australia]

The Fresno Bee [print and online]

The Madera Tribune [print, Front Page story]

[March 2009] Paraplegia News, a magazine published by the Paralyzed Veterans of America [PVA].

[April 2009] Fresno Magazine, feature story.

Television:

CTNS Interview – Picked up 12 times , including these stations in San Francisco, Fresno and Monterey: *We do not have an [online] clip for this piece, just the tracking.

KICU, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose – 12/9/08 at 7 p.m.
KTVU (FOX), San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose – 12/9/08 at 6 p.m.
KFSN (ABC), Fresno/Visalia – 12/9/08 at 6 p.m.
KGPE (CBS), Fresno/Visalia – 12/9/08 at 11 p.m.
KSEE (NBC), Fresno/Visalia – 12/09/08 at 6:30 p.m.
KION (CBS), Monterey/Salinas – 12/9/08 at 5 p.m.
KGPE (CBS), Fresno/Visalia – 12/10/08 at 5 a.m.
KGPE (CBS), Fresno/Visalia – 12/10/08 at 6 a.m.
KTVU (FOX), San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose – 12/10/08 at 8:30 a.m.
KSEE (NBC), Fresno/Visalia – 12/10/08 at 4:30 a.m.
KSEE (NBC), Fresno/Visalia – 12/10/08 at 6 a.m.
KSEE (NBC), Fresno/Visalia – 12/10/08 at 12 p.m.

KMPH FOX 26 Interview, Fresno/Visalia – 12/11/08 at 10 p.m.

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