“Rose Frantzen: Building Community & Impacting Culture, One Portrait at at Time” is the title of a feature story in American Artist magazine by senior editor Alison Malafronte. Frantzen’s artwork—180 portraits depicting residents of her hometown of Maquoketa, Iowa—was exhibited at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery through July of this year. A selection of artwork from that exhibition is pictured below.
The exhibition explored the definition of community in today’s world of electronic networking, which constantly expands, both geographically and numerically, connections with family, friends and acquaintances. Challenging that concept, she returned to the idea of community involving face-to-face interaction and created an intimate series of contemporary portraits of family, friends or townspeople. The project, known as “Portrait of Maquoketa,” took Frantzen some 12 months to complete.
Franzten particularly credits her ability to be able to create these paintings effectively to her instruction at the then-Lyme Academy (she attended before it became a fully-accredited college in 1996) from the late Deane G. Keller. She describes her time at the College as “life-changing.”