Francia is an artist, a life long New Yorker and traveler. Having lived everywhere from the Bronx to the mountains of Switzerland, from a small town in Kentucky to the countryside of Italy; she now resides in Westbeth, a lively artist community in Greenwich Village.
Her current paintings and prints are inspired by architecture, especially synagogues, houses of worship and the landscapes of Switzerland, Italy and upstate New York.
The primary theme through Francia’s painting over the last 30 years is use of color and light to evoke a sense of place and time, and using layering to develop patterns and composition. Her early work tended toward the abstract but in about 1990 she began to depict the real in the context of a magical realism that tells stories about places and things and uses color to mold the forms with great clarity. In her prints the focus is more geometric, and she explores how lines can become shapes.
Francia has been a teaching artist for Studio in a School, Project Arts, and was co-director of the Atelier des Arts, a summer study abroad program in Switzerland for ten years. She has lectured at museums and colleges around the country.
Selected museum exhibitions include: Musee des Beaux-Arts, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland; Indianapolis Museum, Indianapolis, IN; JB Speed Museum, Louisville, KY; Evansville Museum, Evansville, IN; Owensboro Museum of Art, Owensboro, KY; Hartwick College Museum, Oneonta, N.Y; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, N.Y;
National Jewish Museum, Washington, D.C; Mizel Museum, Denver, CO.
Francia’s work can be found in many public collections including: Westminster Bank, Peat, Marwick & Main, National Nursing Assoc., Bibliotecque Nationale, Evansville Museum, Owensboro Museum and Tyler Museum.
Francia has received grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Artists Space, Artists Fellowship and the National Endowment for the Arts to be the First Visual Artist in Residence for the Kentucky Arts Commission.
Currently Francia is collaborating with Christina Maile on 40 years at Westbeth, a documentary film focusing on the evolution and continuing development of the artist community housing in Greenwich Village.
Francia has her BA from City College where she studied with Charles Alston, Colleen Browning and Mario Cooper and received her MA in printmaking from Lehman College.
Feminist Artist Statement
Francia grew up in a progressive household in the Bronx and was taken to meetings and demonstrations when she was a child, including the 1963 March on Washington.
She has been both an artist and activist for more than thirty years, and continues her involvement with important political issues of the day.
Francia feels fortunate to have come of age at the time of the new wave of the Feminist movement. It was a turbulent but energizing period where she had the opportunity to work on feminist and civil rights issues and demonstrate in the anti-war movement. Her activities in the 1970’s lead to her long term involvement in the feminist movement and she continues to be devoted to present day feminist struggles. In the early 1970s Francia organized her first feminist conference, addressing the issues of the day at World Fellowship in Kerhonkson, NY.
As a young woman in the 1970’s, feminist activism gave her a new perspective on life, with strong women role models and the excitement of collaborating with women artists. The feminist movement gave voice to Francia’s lifelong commitment to collaboration and community. This period lead to her involvement with Woman in the Arts, the Women’s Inter-Art Center and then the Women’s Caucus for Art, an umbrella organization of the College Art Association. Francia was president of the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA), NYC chapter from 1988-90, Eastern-Regional Vice-president for two years and was on the national Board of Directors for five years (1990 - 1995).
In 1991 for the WCA national conference in Washington D.C. Francia organized a panel and speak out entitled Judaism and How it Affects your Art and Life.This was the first panel within the WCA with a Jewish theme and was very successful in bringing to the forefront the issues of Jewish Women Artists. At this time she organized the Jewish Women Artists Network, a caucus with in the Women’s Caucus for Art which gave Jewish women a voice and continues to do so.