kailey franks teaching in china

Kailey teaching in China.

Photo Credit Kailey Mackenzie Franks

The Department of Art, Art History and Design at The University of Alabama in Huntsville would like to extend congratulations to Kailey Mackenzie Franks (‘17 BFA Printmaking) for her acceptance and scholarship to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. As the first art museum and school in the United States, PAFA celebrates the transformative power of art and art-making.

However, before beginning her next artistic chapter, Kailey has traveled and produced many works as an international artist. 

Upon graduating from UAH, Kailey spent five months preparing a new portfolio to apply as an Artist-in-Residence in China. Kailey explains, 

“Usually, these types and lengths of residencies are awarded to those with an established career or MFA or both. As someone who only had a BFA and two years of experience, I knew I need to work hard in order to earn a place.”

At 23 years of age, Kailey was the youngest to be awarded a position as an International Artist-in-Residence at the Heilongjiang Art Museum and Heilongjiang Institute for Printmaking in Harbin, China. 

“I worked at the museum as a full-time artist, focusing on printmaking. I sought this region of China because it is where woodblock printmaking began around 2,000 years ago. They taught me the method of woodblock printmaking they have been using for about 1,100 years, and I am one of the few Americans to know this method.” 

During her two-year residency, Kailey produced 60 works of art for the museum’s permanent collection.  A book of her work was then created and sold all over China and in the Lovre Museum in Paris. 

“I not only worked as an Artist but also taught Western Printmaking methods I learned whilst at UAH. I also worked as an English/Chinese Editor and Translator for gallery exhibitions shown in Mainland China, the Louvre in Paris, Hong Kong, and Oxford University in England.”

Upon Kailey’s return to Huntsville due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was awarded “Artist of the Year” at Green Pea Press in Lowe Mill. She has also been a guest lecturer in UAH’s printmaking class, instructing students on the Chinese method of woodblock painting she learned in China.

Continuing to develop her portfolio through creating at Green Pea Press, Kailey was able to not only apply to top MFA programs but be sent numerous enrollment and scholarship offers. After acceptance from schools that included the School of the Visual Arts in NYC, NYU, and Pratt Institute, she has decided to pursue her MFA with PAFA. 

“I was awarded the oldest scholarship in PAFA’s history, with artists who have received this award have gone on to be some of the most famous American artists of all time. I was voted for to receive this scholarship by every member of the board of trustees and MFA academic program board.”

Kailey fondly looks back at her time at UAH and how the department played a role in her successes. 

“My favorite professor at UAH was Katie Baldwin. She was my printmaking professor, and I eventually became her TA and Studio Technician during my Senior year. She has continued to guide me in printmaking post-UAH, and I do not believe I would be where I am in my printmaking career without her. I owe many of my successes to her.”

The Department of Art, Art History, and Design faculty members are incredibly proud of the work Kailey has produced since graduating and are enthusiastically looking forward to watching her career grow.

View Kailey Mackenzie Frank's Online Gallery