One of Beloit's prolific artists to have work featured around city

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Photo by Debra Jensen-De Hart Joy Beckman, Director of the Wright Museum of Art, stands near "The Academic Bison," a mural painted by the late Franklin Boggs. Boggs taught art at Beloit College and was a prolific artist. Several of his works will be on exhibit beginning June 7 at the college and other sites in Beloit.

BELOIT - He grew up on an Indiana farm.

But his talents took him far from home and back again to become one of Beloit's most prolific artists.

In an effort to recognize the many achievements of the late artist, Franklin Boggs, the public is invited to view his work at several venues during the month of June.

The Beloit Art Center, 520 E. Grand Ave., in partnership with Beloit College's Wright Museum of Art, 700 College St., has organized "The Boggs Show."

The artist (1914-2009) was a professor at Beloit College from 1945 to 1979.

Before that, he was among the war correspondents during WWII sent overseas to paint and sketch. He completed scenes of Army medical corps personnel working in the South Pacific.

He can be seen in a PBS documentary focusing on WWII combat artists titled, "They Drew Fire." One of his paintings, "End of a Busy Day," depicts corpsmen washing blood from a stretcher.

Boggs later gained fame as a muralist and for his innovative methods and large concrete projects.

In 1947, he was named in Life magazine as one of the best young American painters, said Joy Beckman, Director of the Wright Museum of Art.

"Inspired in part by the Public Works Project which identified the power of art and placed it in the public realm, American companies of the '30s and '40s tapped artists to help advertise their products," she said. Boggs was one of those artists.

He graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1940 and created an extensive portfolio of work associated with large companies such as: Abbott Laboratories, Gimbels Department Store, National City Bank of New York, the Aloe Medical Company, Trostel Tannery and Hirshim Whiskey, Beckman said.

The exhibit at the museum shows examples of Boggs' work sponsored and supported by these companies. Other large pieces also grace the campus on the upper level of the science building

Boggs lived in Beloit along Turtle Creek.

"He loved living here on the creek," said his son, Nate Boggs, who resides in the home where his father's art studio still exists. "He was such a gregarious, outgoing person."

Viewing of Boggs' work begins at the museum on June 7 with a reception from 4-6 p.m. The work also can be seen from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through June 28 at the museum.

From 5-8 p.m. on June 7, the Beloit Art Center also will open viewing of about 40 pieces of Boggs' work with a reception. This exhibit also will be on display for the entire month of June.

The art center also will have a bus or trolley available from 9 a.m.-noon and from 1-4 p.m. on June 8 for tours around the community. Participants will start at the Beloit Art Center and then go on to view pieces at the Beloit Historical Society, Beloit Library, Franklin Boggs home studio, The Confluence and the Wright Museum of Art. Charge is $10 for the ride. Those wanting to take the transported tour should contact the BAC at 608-313-9083 to make a reservation and pay the fee. There is no charge to view the artwork; many pieces also will be for sale.

Another transported tour may be set for June 9 if enough reservations are requested for that day. The Beloit Art Center is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

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