Ray Frederick art show, auction held at MCC

T-R PHOTO BY ROBERT MAHARRY —Ray Frederick’s daughter Denise Barr, left, and son Bruce Frederick, right, stand in front of one of his works during an exhibit on the MCC campus Friday night.

Ray Frederick was such a prolific artist that even after he passed, his children, Bruce Frederick and Denise Barr, can remember discovering “treasure troves” of works they weren’t even previously aware of.

“I started looking at some of the things that were compiled and go ‘Wow, these are some really, really nice pictures that I’ve never seen before,'” Bruce said. “And I thought I had some of the best stuff.”

Frederick, a longtime art faculty member at MCC who died in 2019, left behind a towering legacy when he passed, but Bruce and Denise have done their best to preserve it. Last Friday night, they hosted an exhibit of their father’s work on the MCC campus before selling the pieces through a silent auction on Saturday. Both children said they planned to make a sizable donation to the gallery that bears Ray’s name with the proceeds of the auction, and they also donated one painting directly to the college.

“Our cousins got to pick paintings and our kids, and we made sure the family all had prints of his work. We just don’t have room for all of it, so this is what we decided to do,” Barr said.

Bruce said his personal favorite works of his father’s are landscapes of places “you just want to walk into,” and Denise holds a special place in her heart for a portrait of the farm Ray grew up on near Marion.

Kristin Hanggi, Bruce’s daughter and Ray’s granddaughter, said she was always fascinated by her grandpa’s abstracts because she never knew exactly what they meant, and she would always find new details upon repeat viewings.

“I would always ask him growing up ‘Well, what is it?’ and he’d always say ‘Well, what do you think it is?'” Hanggi said.

According to Denise, Ray counted his fellow faculty members and even some students among his closest friends, and he always felt especially connected to MCC during his 33 years on staff at the college.

Tim Castle, the current art professor at MCC, fondly recalls the way Frederick would always support other artists and push them to be their best.

“Whoever was showing the work, he was totally focused on the work and he gave attention to each artist. He was very generous with his attention and support,” Castle said. “I think I learned from Ray just to slow down and really observe what others created. That’s what he did. He moved from piece to piece, and he really soaked it up.”

Some of Castle’s best memories came out of invitations to Frederick’s house on Lincoln Way and how passionately they would discuss art during those visits.

“It was a beautiful thing, and it was all encompassing,” Castle said. “He didn’t even have to speak. There could be silence between us, but we just enjoyed being in the presence of art. That’s what I remember, so much.”


Contact Robert Maharry at 641-753-6611 ext. 255 or rmaharry@timesrepublican.com


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.38/week.

Subscribe Today