Monday, June 8, 2009

Grant Fredericks


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.

3 comments:

James said...

Thank you for this nice synopsis of Grant's accomplishments and the warm words. I know Grant touched many lives and was taken too soon. As his little brother, I loved him and looked up to him very much. This site is much appreciated.

-James Fredericks

Nathan Rock said...

Grant was like a second father to me as I'm sure he was to many. In my turbulent teenage years, grant was always a voice of encouragement and a voice of reason. He was my fathers best friend, and years later hardly a day goes by I don't come across a day where he didn't touch my life in some way. Everything was always more beautiful, vibrant, and full of promise because Grant was there. He taught me how to play the guitar, how to see a goal in life and go for it, and most importantly, how to see the bright side no matter what life threw your way. Thank you for being such a wonderful friend to me and my father. I am a better man and father because of everything you taught me.
Nathan Rock

Ruth (Steffenson) Cowden said...

I went to school with Grant, here in Minnesota. As a lover of art, I was impressed with his incredible talent. He moved away, but I was certain he would go on to do great artistic accomplishments. I am now retired, and after all this time, I did a Google search for his name, hoping to find examples of his work. Although it saddens me to find that he died so young, I'm happy to hear of his accomplished life. I'm still searching to find his artwork, however.