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In Memoriam – Dextra Frankel

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Dextra Frankel, professor emeritus of art, died Oct. 13 in Los Angeles.

Frankel, a sculptor, is credited with developing the exhibition design and graduate certificate in museum studies programs at Cal State Fullerton. She also was instrumental in designing and building the Main Art Gallery, now known as the Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery.

Frankel was featured in one of the university’s first exhibitions, “Four Women Artists,” in 1964 — the same year she began teaching at the university. She became a full-time faculty meber in 1969. Two years earlier, she was named gallery director, a position she held until her retirement in 1991. 

“Weather Vane,” a bronze sculpture in front of the Visual Arts Center, was created by Frankel and dedicated to Cal State Fullerton in honor of its founding faculty.

She also maintained an independent exhibition design firm, working with clients such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Among Frankel’s most notable projects were the exhibition for the post-1984 Los Angeles-hosted Olympics at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and Francis Ford Coppola’s Niebaum-Coppola Centennial Museum in Rutherford, California, for which she was the designer and curator. Her workshops, projects, seminars and lectures spanned several continents.

Frankel is survived by her son and daughter-in-law. A campus memorial service is being planned.