(American/New Orleans, 1933-2008)
Although Franklin Adams was not a native of New Orleans, he was a prolific artist that contributed to the richness and diversity of city’s art community. Born in Florida, in 1933 he studied at FSU earning both a B.A. and M.A. in painting. After university, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study painting in France. After returning to the U.S., he briefly taught in Georgia before moving to New Orleans in 1958 to teach painting and drawing at Newcomb College before leaving to teach design at Tulane School of Architecture in 1978. He retired from academia in 1996 as a professor emeritus. Described as a “true bon vivant”, Adams was well known within in the local art world and beyond. While at Newcomb, he joined the Orleans Gallery which became the contemporary hub of the city highlighting works from artists like Jim Steg and Ida Kohlmeyer. Never committing to one medium, Adams was an artist, architect, designer, and teacher whose cross-media works spanned painting, sculpture, illustration, set design, architecture, and graphic and interior design. He designed logos for THNOC and Mignon Faget. In addition to set and costume design for theater, he designed the entire famed “Treasures of Tutankhamun” exhibit. He continued the aspect of design by creating wooden sculptures that mimicked furniture and architectural designs. This can be seen with works like “Table with Square Cloth,” a fully functional wooden table with a top carved to imitate a tablecloth. Adams had a gift for drafting and architectural drawing as well as knowledge of how a building should work. Cindy Morse described his ability as “seeing possibilities where other people might say, ‘what a boring shot gun house.’” There was relatability to his approach with clients founded on the basis that there is no hierarchy when it comes to ideas, everyone has equal value. As a professor, he was able to pass along this relatability to his students, continually inspiring them with his simplicity and artistry.