Primitive artist, longtime gallery owner Grandma Fran dies at 87

Friday, December 7, 2012
George Brown survives his wife, Frances Louise Currey-Brown, a.k.a. Grandma Fran, who died on Tuesday.

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Eureka Springs artist and longtime gallery owner Frances Louise Currey-Brown, a.k.a. Grandma Fran, has died at the age of 87.

Mrs. Currey-Brown, an Indiana native who painted primitive scenes in her art, formerly owned and operated Grandma Fran's gallery on Highway 62 West just outside of Eureka Springs until illness forced its closure in 2009.

Mrs. Currey-Brown is survived by her husband, George Brown. She was preceded in death by her parents, Harley and Lenore Netherland, and late husband Thomas Currey.

Mrs. Currey-Brown was known for painting scenes from her childhood in Indiana, and she often drew or painted pictures of her life on the farm before electricity and plumbing.

She earned a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University in Indiana and went on to teach third grade in Liberty, Ind. In the early 1970s, Mrs. Currey-Brown started drawing picture cards for her granddaughter Margaret, which led to an accomplished career as a primitive artist.

Today, her paintings hang in many galleries around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City.

In addition to her husband, George, whom she wed in 1987, Mrs. Currey-Brown is survived by two sons, James Clarkson of Pascagula, Miss., and John Clarkson of Liberty, Ind.; a daughter, Deborah Cromis of Hardinsburg, Ky.; a step-daughter, Nancy Snow of Fairhope, Ala.; grandchildren Margaret Clarkson-Heintzleman, Marc and Brian Cromis, and Katrina, Steven and Tristan Clarkson; great-grandchildren Jeremiah and Caleb Cromis, Alicia and Patrick Heintzleman, and Quinn Clarkson; a sister Florence Seay; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 at the United Methodist Church in Berryville with interment at Sylvan-Abbey Memorial Park in Clearwater, Fla.

Arrangements are under the direction of Nelson Funeral Service. Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.nelsonfuneral.com.

Editor's note: An extensive article on Grandma Fran, her background and her work that was published in Carroll County News just last week and can be viewed here.

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