Anne Fracassa:
Street Smart



I had the good fortune to run into Anne Fracassa now several years ago in the Elmwood Cemetery. I was there with a graduate drawing class, and Anne, having been in that same class a few years earlier, was returning to a favorite place for making drawings. Anne's fanciful work captures a city that is magical and alive even in the midst of urban decay. It's our pleasure to cede to her our cover and present this online gallery of this Detroit treasure. - Nick Sousanis, Editor

On a recent morning, I parked my car in the Wayne State parking lot on the site of the former Vernor's Plant. The morning sun was just beginning to break through an early morning mist. As I looked toward downtown Detroit, there was the Whitney mansion and its Victorian chimneys and cupolas, the Willis Power Plant topped with three enormous stacks, and a magnificent water tower, all joined in one continuous silhouette and bathed in golden light. The sight took my breath away. I am constantly surprised by the beauty of the images I find every day in Detroit.

Detroit's unique configuration, with all of the main streets fanning out like spokes on a wheel, brings an ever-changing view for anyone moving slowly through its streets. The constantly shifting, kaleidoscopic view of architectural oddities and wonders provides me with a never-ending visual feast and endless subject matter for my paintings and drawings.

I never tire of exploring Detroit's neighborhoods. From humble frame homes crowded together on narrow streets to elegant Victorian mansions on broad boulevards, Detroit's architecture reminds me constantly of its rich social history.

Utility poles and water towers, railroad crossing signals, billboards, bridges, and massive old buildings against gray winter skies are powerful abstract shapes repeated in endless variations and patterns.

It is so rewarding to know that many other artists share my love of this city. Each of us creates a unique vision of Detroit through our work. I believe that we are all mindful that the city's "renaissance" is likely to result in the disappearance of many of its beautiful forms. Together, we create a record of love.

I grew up in Toledo, Ohio. In 1961, after receiving a BA in Political Science from Marquette University in Milwaukee, I moved to Detroit and have lived in the city ever since. In 1998, I completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at Wayne State University. My studio is located in the Pioneer Building, a converted factory building in mid-town Detroit. Through the years, I have come to love Detroit and the richness of life I have found here. It is a gift to move daily through the subject matter of my paintings and drawings.

Take the Tour:
Davison Sunset
Reclaimed Brick II
The Davison
Empowerment Zone

You can also find Fracassa's work on view currently as part of the Street Smart exhibition at Art Exchange Gallery in Detroit. Featuring Detroit artists.

Street Smart
Art Exchange Gallery
2966 Woodward, Detroit
November 5 through January 1, 2005

For more information about Anne Fracassa and her work, click below:

© 2002