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MCC to hold rare Ray Frederick Silent Auction June 11

Denise Barr

Ray Frederick’s daughter, Denise Barr, with one of the original paintings that will be available for auction.

MARSHALLTOWN – Art enthusiasts and Ray Frederick fans will be thrilled to hear that Marshalltown Community College will be hosting a silent auction to officially open the new Ray Frederick Gallery on the MCC campus. The event will be held over two days with a viewing on Friday, June 10th and viewing and bidding on Saturday, June 11th.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase an original Ray Frederick painting. There will be twenty-four paintings in a variety of sizes, prints and cards on-site in a range of prices so that those interested will be able to purchase a piece of artwork. The paintings will include art that Frederick created throughout his career including both the 1950’s and 60’s, watercolors from college and others from different stages from his creative career.

Born in Cedar Rapids, IA, Frederick’s love of art started early. His earliest interest in drawing came from country school. One day when he was home

from school and sick in bed, he was given pencils and paper and drawing became his entertainment. His teachers recognized his gift and when something needed to be drawn on the chalkboard, he was asked to do it. He also started using watercolor to paint and art quickly became his primary interest, and he knew it would be his future.

Frederick moved to Marshalltown in early 1950s after accepting a teaching job in the junior high school. During his time in Marshalltown, he was able to share his love of art with students at the junior high, high school and community college levels. “Being an educator allowed me to affect the lives of countless students. Once I was teaching at the college, students often came over to my house to socialize. I had the unique opportunity to interact with my students on a deep, personal level – helping them explore their emotions and dreams,” commented Frederick in an article from 2017 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the gallery.

He never tired of painting or talking about art. A common theme expressed by former students is that he taught by encouraging self-exploration, evaluation and expression. He would never directly answer the question “What should I do?” but would instead lead students through the process of discovering their inner artist.

Frederick kept in touch with a number of his students even becoming lifelong friends with some of the people that he taught. Some of them have reached out to the Frederick family to let them know how much he influenced them and encouraged them in their artwork. Frederick’s daughter Denise Barr shared, “He used to have an art club at his house. There was one time that they were playing cards and discovered there was a Van Gogh show at the Chicago Art Museum. They left at midnight to get there when the show opened, took a nap at the local YMCA then drove back home the same day.” He had these kinds of trips often, especially going into the Cedar Rapids area – the home of Grant Wood.

Barr also shared a story about a previous student that became a truck driver. He was driving to Philadelphia and invited Frederick along. Frederick was dropped off at the art museum, the truck driver did his delivery, and then they walked around the museum together and traveled home. “He had such a variety of students, but they all did different types of art and he encouraged them all.”

Frederick described his artistic career as a great adventure. He had the opportunity to travel to Japan, Rome and throughout the United States. Every family vacation involved art museums and shows using all of these as inspiration in his own art.

The art that Frederick has created ranges from using mediums such as oil, acrylic, using materials such as burlap, canvas, denim, modeling paste, plaster, and so many more mediums. His paintings were created from memories or impressions, imagination or direct observation of a particular place. The wide range of art themes he created included life in Iowa, farm scenes, landscapes, cities, still life, pop art, abstracts, and ideas that came from his international trips. He once described it as an exploration of possibilities without knowing what the result would be until it happened. He said, “Every painting is an adventure with decisions on color options, accents, shapes, sizes and textures. Every artist has a unique, personal technique that sets him or her apart from others. Look for surprises when you paint and enjoy the inspiration of ideas.”

During his career Frederick had one-man shows in thirty locations in Iowa and two or three person shows in eight Iowa locations. His paintings are in over 30 collections.

Frederick and his wife, Annice, moved to Cedar Falls in 2013. Once settled he had a one-man show at the Hearst Center for the Arts and twice had paintings in the Hearst’s “First Fifty” exhibit. He shared his love of art until his passing in September 2019. He lived in the Western Home Community where several of his neighbors brought their friends and family to see his apartment filled with artwork. As Alzheimer’s affected his memory, he found his way around the building by following the paintings, remembering their placement on the walls.

“The art stuck with him when he was losing everything else,” commented Barr. “He had his interest in art until the end. He loved to tell his caretakers about all of the things around his apartment. Giving tours and talking with visitors. Some would even ask me to come and talk.”

The Ray Frederick silent auction came about due to the passing of Frederick nearly three years ago and coincides with the opening of the new Ray Frederick Gallery. When Frederick passed his family kept the paintings that they wanted and have more that they are making available to those interested in purchasing them. MCC Art Faculty, Tim Castle, knew the best way to kick off the gallery was to open with a showing of Frederick’s pieces. It just so happens that Barr was also thinking of contacting Castle to see if they could hold the auction at MCC.

“Due to the construction, COVID and some other circumstances the auction has been delayed a couple of times,” commented Barr. “It worked out perfectly in this case since it will be the first outside show that the new gallery will host.”

The twenty-four original Ray Frederick paintings that will be on display during the silent auction have been stored in a climate-controlled environment. A portion of the money from the auction will be donated by the Frederick family to the MCC Foundation.

“Ray and Annice touched the lives of so many community members during their three-decade residence in Marshalltown,” commented Castle. “Their name represents a robust and fond legacy at MCC.”

The public art auction viewing will be held on Friday, June 10 from 7 to 9 pm. Doors will open promptly at 7 pm. The starting bids for each painting will be on display at this time as well. The silent auction will take place on Saturday, June 11, 10 am to 2 pm. Auction cards will be given to those planning to bid to keep track and auction numbers will be used on the bid sheets so they will be anonymous.

Visitors and community members will want to note that MCC will be hosting a Mass Casualty Simulation with local law enforcement and emergency services during the afternoon of June 10th.  All activity related to the simulation will be completed by the start of the Friday evening viewing.

Cash or checks will be accepted, and you must be present at the end of the auction to pick up your artwork. Frederick’s daughter Denise and son Bruce Frederick will be attending the events with several more of Frederick’s family. Photos, cards and reproductions will be available both days to purchase.

“The silent auction will be a one-of-a-kind event,” commented Castle. “I highly doubt anything like it will ever happen again. I’ve met many people seeking a Ray Frederick painting and I’ve received calls from all over the United States from people wanting information about purchasing them. The upcoming viewing and auction will be a very rare opportunity to see a large collection of paintings with the possibility of purchasing one.”

Visitors should park in the east lot and enter the campus building through the Faust Student Union entrance (door #3) If you have questions about the silent auction email Tim Castle at Tim.Castle@iavalley.edu or Denise Barr at denise.barr@cfu.net.

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