The 10th Annual Fran Achen Photography Competition kicks off July 5 and runs through July 28 at the Cultural Arts Center on 402 West Main Street in Whitewater. The Whitewater Arts Alliance honors Fran Achen with this yearly competition.
An opening reception will be July 7 from 1-3 p.m. with awards at 2 p.m. More than 34 people of all ages and experiences in photography will exhibit their work.
Jeff McDonald, chair of the show and Whitewater Arts Alliance board member, said, “The Fran Achen show is truly one of the highlights of the year and the Cultural Arts Center is one of Whitewater’s gems. Together they provide a showcase for outstanding work created by both established and aspiring area photographers. It is exciting to see the many ways these artists interpret the world through their images. Fran Achen was an exceptional photographer and his catalog of images continues to inspire. I eagerly await this year’s event and hope to see you there.”
Fran Achen was a longtime Whitewater resident, teacher, and local photographer. He is most remembered for his photographic collection which chronicles the history of Whitewater.
Born in Kenosha in 1916, his interest in photography began after high school. He spent almost two years delivering cars for the Nash automobile factory. “It seemed like such fun to explore America, so that started my interest in photography and geography, which became my major in college,” he said.
In 1938, when Fran enrolled at Whitewater State Teachers College, it was the first year enrollment went over one thousand. Fran remembered being the last one to register, making the enrollment that year 1,008 students. While an undergraduate student at the college, he served as a photographer for the Royal Purple and the former Minneiska yearbook, as well as working as a freelance photographer for the Janesville Gazette, making “a buck a picture” which helped to pay his way through school.
While attending college, Fran met his wife, Lydia. They were married for 55 years and had three children – Chap, Randi, and Jim.
The mission of the Whitewater Arts Alliance is to promote the visual and performing arts through an alliance of artists, individuals, educational resources, and organizations to promote creativity and diversity that will serve to educate and enrich the lives of the residents of the Whitewater community and surrounding areas.