Franc Palaia is an award-winning and versatile multi-media artist. He works professionally as a painter, photographer, muralist, sculptor, signmaker, lamp designer, book artist, independent curator, lecturer, film and TV producer and educator. His encyclopedic resume includes over 300 group exhibitions and over 40 solo shows, regional, national and international. Franc has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, the White House, the New Museum and the Smithsonian Institute, High Museum of Art, Fundacio Salvador Dali in Spain, O.K. Harris Works of Art, NY, The Clocktower, Rutgers University, NJ, Jersey City Museum, the FDR Presidential Museum & Library, PS 1, Queens College, Newark Museum, the New Jersey State Museum and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art among many others.
Regionally, he has exhibited at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, Vassar College, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Center for Photography in Woodstock, Dutchess Community College, BAU Gallery in Beacon, Carl Van Brunt Gallery, WAAM, in Woodstock, No Bennington Sculpture Annual in Vermont, Albert Shahinian Fine Art and Time and Space Limited to name a few. His Solar House sculpture, Solar Photo-Car and Photo-Bus Shelter appeared in the 2005, 2007 & 2009 Kingston Sculpture Biennials. Franc participated in the Newburgh Sculpture Project, Saunder’s Farm Sculpture show and Photo-Lamp window installations at the Whitney Museum annex, Broadway Windows, Macy’s and Barneys New York.
Franc has received over 20 grants, awards and fellowships including the prestigious Rome Prize Fellowship, the Louis Comfort Tiffany grant, a Polaroid Sponsorship , two grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, two NYFA-SOS grants and three Dutchess County Arts Council grants . He was selected Poughkeepsian of the Year by the Weekly Beat and received two Executive Arts Awards from the Dutchess County Arts Council in 2003 and 2006. In 2007, Franc was awarded the, Friend of the Arts Award by the Mill Street Loft for outstanding contribution to public art in Dutchess County. His photographs have appeared on the cover of Chronogram Magazine.
Palaia is listed in “Who’s Who in American Art” and has curated over twenty five group exhibitions in the US and in Italy since 1982. Venues of his curated shows include the Newark Museum, Alternative Museum, Collaborative Concepts in Beacon, Velan- Arte Contemporanea in Torino, Italy and the American Academy in Rome. Two of these shows were reviewed in the New York Times and one on PBS Ch 13-TV and in Tema Celeste Magazine. His works have been reviewed in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Arts Magazine, Art in America, Artweek, Hudson Valley Magazine, Newark Star–Ledger , Art- Bytes, La Repubblica, L’Espresso, Bliss, Miami Herald, New York Press, Parachute Mag. , La Voz, Ambassador Magazine, Poughkeepsie Journal, China Post, Jersey Journal and others.
Franc have painted numerous outdoor and indoor murals, including one of the largest murals in the U.S. (60’x350’) in Jersey City, NJ. Also, his “Olde Main Street Mural” in downtown Poughkeepsie and his “Empire State Games mural on the Mid-Hudson Civic Center and most recently, the “Italian Heritage Mural” in Pok’s Little Italy. His murals have appeared on NBC TV and the Discovery Channel and in the Hollywood movie, “Bas Company” starring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. He have received four commissions from New Jersey Transit to paint a mural and design five etched-glass windscreens for the Woodbridge, NJ Train Station and the Hudson County Light Rail in Bayonne, NJ. He was the muralist and instructor on the largest indoor mural in Poughkeepsie, NY which measures (8’x138 feet) and fills the entire parameter of the Poughkeepsie High School gymnasium. This was a 2003-06 collaboration with Mill Street Loft’s Project Able and 100 high school students. In 2008 he was awarded two commissions from the Ulster County Transit System to create a mural and an outdoor solar powered sculptural sign at their new facility in Kingston, NY.
Franc has lectured and participated in many symposia and panel discussions on numerous topics, such as “The People’s Republic of China in 1981” based on his one month sojourn and photo book,”Great Walls of China”, given at the Jersey City Museum in 1984. Other lectures include,”The Venice Biennale, 2007” given at the Italian Center in Poughkeepsie, NY in 2007, panel moderator at Vassar College for lectures on “Roman Aqueducts” in 2000 and “Murals and Public Art”, 2007, the “History of Italian Americans in Poughkeepsie” at the Mid- Hudson Heritage Center, Poughkeepsie, NY in 2012, other lectures on a variety of cultural topics at several Rotary Clubs and community Centers. Other venues include: Pace University, Marist College, NY, Montclair University, NJ, Hunterdon Museum of Art, NJ, City University of NY, Rutgers University, NJ, Frankilin Furnace, NY, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, Rhode Island School of Design, Rome ,Italy, School of Visual Arts, NY, Cornell University, Rome, Italy, Barrett Art Center, NY, Cunneen-Hackett Art Center, NY, Calandra Italian-American Institute, Queens College, NY, Parsons School of Design, NY , Rockland Community College, NY, Dutchess Community College, NY and Highland Cultural Center, NY.
Palaia has published over 18 books, Videos, DVD catalogs, and exhibition catalogs on a variety of topics that include, Illuminated Photography, New York Graffiti and Urban Street Art, Children’s Books, Bridges of the Hudson Valley, NY, Urban Walls of China, Italian Frescoes, the Berlin Wall, Cuban Murals and Polaroid photography.
He was co-founder and co-organizer of ArtWalk, ArtHop, Friday on Main, Art Along the Hudson brochure, the Gallery Shop, G.A.S. Gallery & Performance Space, Weekend on Main and Queen City Saturdays. He also leads seasonal guided walking tours of Public Art in downtown Poughkeepsie.
He has worked, assisted and collaborated with many internationally celebrated artists such as; Salvador Dali, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Wilson, Crash, Daze, Richard Hambleton and Jean-Michel Basquiat. He was official photographer for Joseph Bertolozzi’s Eiffel Tower Music in 2013.
Franc’s artworks are included in dozens of public and private collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Fundacio Dali-Gala, Spain, Johnson & Johnson’s, McDonald’s Corp., Newark Museum, Polaroid Corp., author Oscar Hijuelos, Senator Frank Lautenburg, and singer Diana Ross, to name a few. He was producer and on- air host of his own Time -Warner Cable Television program on the visual arts. ARTS FOCUS, (2007-2010) was a weekly half -hour program that presented visual artists and others to discuss exhibitions and art trends.
Palaia has a B.A. from Kean University, NJ and an MFA degree from the University of Cincinnati. I was chosen “Best Friend of the Arts in Poughkeepsie” by the Hudson Valley Magazine 2010 and was selected “Distinguished Alumni of 2012” by Kean University of New Jersey.
He has taught visual art and art history at Kean College, Upsala College, Essex County Community College, Highland Art Center, Mill Street Loft, Poughkeepsie, NY and Gifted and Talented students at Vassar College, NY.
He is currently executive producer and graphic designer for a full length documentary film with filmmaker Jane Watson on Italian and Irish immigration in Poughkeepsie’s First Ward from 1850- 1950, entitled, ”Crossing Waters” to be presented in theaters, schools, museums, cultural centers and public TV stations in late 2014 .