Frank LaPena *1937
Frank LaPena, an internationally renowned painter and poet, was born in 1937 in San Francisco. Like many Native children of his generation he was sent to a state-run boarding school at an early age. As a young man he became interested in the songs, dances, and ceremonial traditions of his people. He is one of the founding members of the Maidu Dancers and Traditionalists. LaPena is best known for his paintings that allude to Maidu and Wintu ceremonies. Since 1960, his works have been shown in many exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Middle and South America, Australia, and New Zealand. LaPena is a professor emeritus at the California State University where he taught art at the Native American Studies Department for 30 years. In addition, he has been a consultant to various museums in the U.S. Besides painting he has published several volumes of poetry. He lives in Sacramento and continues to be active in ceremonial life as a singer and dance leader.