Monday, June 8, 2009
In this post, we honor Grant Fredericks, former Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette technical director. The information was provided by Alice Schwind, director of The Grant Fredericks Gallery. In future posts, we'll show images of the posters that Grant created for Civic Theatre productions.
Grant Fredericks was raised in Minnesota, spent his teenage years in Texas and moved to Indiana in the early 1980s.
Grant was an accomplished artist and musician since childhood. For several years during his late teens and early 20s, he toured the United States as a bass guitarist for well-known country and western singing stars such as Sylvia and Reba McEntire.
Although he never gave up being a musician after moving to Indiana, Grant began to make his living as a commercial artist, designing and creating image and identification materials, as well as memorable large-scale mural projects, landscapes, wildlife drawings and portraits. Grant is remembered for his Columbian Park Zoo poster "The Mother Goose" and the portraits of "dead rock stars," as he called them, that for several years surrounded the exterior of JL Records on the Levee. Grant is also well-known for a wonderful series of original show posters he created for Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette over the years, many of which have been framed and preserved through the generosity of Civic patrons.
After volunteering as a set designer and painter, a performer and as the director of both Civic productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes, Grant became Civic Theatre's technical director, a position he held and enjoyed for three years.
Tragically, Grant became ill with leukemia and, after a valiant battle, passed from among us in July 2001. He was a larger-than-life presence, full of energy and enthusiasm, and is remembered fondly by those who were privileged to know and work with him. One Civic friend said, "Grant was everything good in the world – always making something beautiful, whether it was music or art or barbeque, or his amazing way of making people laugh." Another described him as "the warmest 'cool guy' I've ever known."
The Grant Fredericks Gallery in the Monon Depot Theatre was created to give a wide variety of artists, both young and not-so-young, the opportunity to showcase their work, artists who might never otherwise have had an opportunity to exhibit their work publicly. We thought it was appropriate to invoke Grant's memory on their behalf.