Frank Lee Craig: Near Distance
February 10 - August 20, 2022
Architect, artist, and musician Frank Lee Craig (1952-2009) grew up at the other end of NC State’s original campus in a small residential neighborhood later demolished to make way for University Towers apartments and the Dan Allen parking deck. One of his best boyhood friends was the university Chancellor’s son, who lived in this house. They frequently spent time together in the rooms where this exhibition is currently presented.
Craig attended NC State’s School (now College) of Design, graduating in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. In the years that followed, he worked as a builder, project manager, and designer with local architecture firms, earning his professional license and eventually becoming a principal of Cline Design Associates, one of the largest firms in the state.
At the same time, he pursued a parallel interest in music as lead guitar in Spot, a popular Raleigh blues-rock band he had co-founded with several musician friends and wrote his own original songs.
In 1980 he met Margret Kentgens, who had come from Germany to Raleigh to visit a friend. A year later, she returned to teach at NC State on an exchange program. Thereafter he began spending part of each year in Germany, and before long they married.
In 2003 Craig was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, initiating a grueling year of aggressive treatments following major surgery. During his recovery, he discovered a new calling as a visual artist. Although he had made small pieces on occasion for years, now he dove into art-making with a passion, producing a massive collection of works that ranged from multi-media collages and photography to paintings, drawings, jewelry, and found-object sculptures. He continued to rehearse and play music as well, although at times wrestling with the fallout from his illness.