A Finding Aid to the La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa,
1936-2007,
bulk 1936-1942
, in the Archives of American Art

Summary
Collection ID:
AAA.franla
Creators:
Frank-Rush, La Vern, 1918-2011
Dates:
1936-2007
bulk 1936-1942
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
0.2 Linear feet
0.277 Gigabytes
Repository:
The La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, measure 0.2 linear feet and 0.277 GB and date from 1936 to 2007 with the bulk dated 1936 to 1942. Two scrapbooks compiled by Frank-Rush between 1936 and 1942 contain introductory and concluding statements added by her in 2006. A memoir, circa 2007, documents activities, achievements, staff, and participants of the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Also included are digital images of the scrapbooks and memoir, along with seven images of Frank-Rush's artwork.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
The La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, measure 0.2 linear feet and 0.277 GB and date from 1936 to 2007 with the bulk dated 1936 to 1942. Two scrapbooks compiled by Frank-Rush between 1936 and 1942 contain introductory and concluding statements added by her in 2006. A memoir, circa 2007, documents activities, achievements, staff, and participants of the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Also included are digital images of the scrapbooks and memoir.
Two scrapbooks document the Sioux City Art Center's founding by the WPA in 1938, its activities, and programs. The Center, which still exists today, is one of four WPA art centers in Iowa to survive without interruption. Photographs record exhibits, staff members, students, and work produced at the Art Center and also depict Frank-Rush's personal life.
Frank-Rush's memoir and scrapbooks provide insight into how the WPA Art Center impacted her as well as the larger community. In her own words, the collection "reveals the personality of the Sioux City Art Center." A small selection of her artwork, digitized, lends a view into the late 1930s.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is organized into 3 series:
  • Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1936-2007 (Box 1; 0.1 linear ft.)
  • Series 2: Memoir, circa 2007 (Box 1; 1 folder)
  • Series 3: Digitized Collection Items (ER01; 0.277 GB)

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
LaVern Frank-Rush (b. 1918) worked at the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, from its opening in 1938 until 1941, first as a volunter and then as an employee. During this time, she compiled two scrapbooks about the Art Center; circa 2007, she wrote a memoir that focused on the Art Center.
After finishing junior high school, La Vern Frank-Rush won a contest that enabled her to attend free summer art classes at the Sioux City Public Library. The instructor, Roy Langley, had a lasting influence on the aspiring artist.
The WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, offered free exhibits, lectures, and art classes to a community which otherwise would not have had such opportunities. The Art Center organized plays, marionette shows, and exhibitions. It also provided classed in ceramics, puppetry, and watercolor painting. The weekly schedule included 32 different offerings and hundreds of children and adults were enrolled. Performances were always well received and record crowds gathered to view the exhibits.
Soon after it opened in 1938, Frank-Rush started working as a volunteer at the WPA Art Center and began compiling a scrapbook about Art Center activities. She studied painting and printmaking withthe various artists who taught there. After she became an employee, Frank-Rush served as an instructor, art teacher, and librarian until 1942.
LaVern Frank and George Rush, who also worked at the Art Center, married in 1943. Three days after their marriage, Rush was assigned to the Engineer Corps at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Frank-Rush served in the Civil Service War Department in Washington, DC, but soon was able to transfer to Fort Belvoir. In 1953 the couple moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where she taught art at the University of Nebraska from 1956 through 1966. Frank-Rush, who was certified to teach care and raising of houseplants, helped organize the Nebraska Herbal Society, and presented hebal and plant demonstrations at South East Community College in Lincoln. Since retiring in 1980, she has lived quietly in Oregon.

Administration
Processing Information
The collection was processed by Jivan Kaur Soverall in June 2009. Born-digital materials were processed by Kirsi Ritosalmi-Kisner in 2019 with funding from Smithsonian Collection Care and Preservation Fund.
Author
Jivan Kaur Soverall
Provenance
The La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, were donated by La Vern Frank-Rush in 2007.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, 1936-2007. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Restrictions on Access.
Use of original material requires an appointment.
Ownership and Literary Rights
The La Vern Frank-Rush papers regarding the WPA Art Center in Sioux City, Iowa, are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Related Material
The Archives of American Art houses microfilm copies of selected official WPA records of interest to art historians. The following microfilm, available at AAA ofices and through interlibrary loan, contain additional documentation of the WPA Art Center in Sioux city, Iowa:
Records of the WPA, General Correspondence files include selected documents pertaining to the Federal Art Project in Iowa. (Reel DC 76, frames 317-2309)
WPA Photograph Collection contains 18 photographs of the Sioux City Art Center, classes, projects, puppet workshops, exhibitions, and marionettes. (Reel 1178, frames 0011-0044)
Iowa Community Art Centers, 1938-1939, features 13 photographs of the Sioux City Art Center. (Reel NDA 16, frames 290-317)

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Memoirs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Art centers -- Iowa -- Sioux City Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
CD-ROMs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Scrapbooks Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Works Progress Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. Work Projects Administration Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives of American Art
750 9th Street, NW
Victor Building, Suite 2200
Washington, D.C. 20001
https://www.aaa.si.edu/services/questions
https://www.aaa.si.edu/