FRANK emerging artists program

Our Emerging Artist Program gives promising young artists a unique opportunity to hone their artistic skills and learn the business behind art while being supported by a group of creative and professional local artists

Polina Varlamova


“My artistic practice reflects on my experience of emigration, drawing on personal archives and tracing my own transformation. I explore the history of my family, the hybridization of identities, and the merging of cultures. Examining how my past influences my present, I create my own mix of the semiotics of my family history and new reality.”

Polina Varlamova was FRANK Gallery’s featured emerging artist from 2022-23. Varlamova received a bachelor’s degree in textile design from Moscow State Textile University. She immigrated from Russia to North Carolina in 2019. Since then, her work with embroidery and textile sculptures has evolved to reflect multicultural influences and her experience of emigration. Her art has seen audiences from New York to Texas, and she has upcoming solo shows at the Horace Williams House in Chapel Hill and Peel Gallery in Carrboro.

Ajani Anderson


“Having experience in the art history field has allowed me to delve into the stories, imagery, and ever-fluid culture that characterizes Black American identity. I define my work as visual folktale, and in my art, I speak to the narratives of marginalized people, delving into the complexities of even the intra-communal hierarchies that exist. I use graphite, acrylic and mixed media, to create pieces that can be qualified as somewhere between realistic portraiture and surrealism.”

Ajani Anderson was FRANK Gallery’s featured emerging artist from 2021-22. She received a bachelor’s degree in Art History and African American Diaspora Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her graphite portraiture reflects her own reality, with a surrealistic touch inspired by her research in African American folklore. Her work has been displayed at the African American Cultural Center at North Carolina State University.

Charlie Dupee


“Unquestioned intuition, capitalism, and the KKK have influenced my current work direction: queer, kitsch American-nonsense. 

A student of Josef Albers and a fanboy of Ai Weiwei, I strive to enchant people with color and question the values of society.”

Charlie Dupee was FRANK Gallery’s featured emerging artist from 2018-19. They received a master’s degree in studio art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Their work reflects a slow, meditative departure from the hyperproductivity and consumerism enabled by capitalism. Through mediums including crochet sculpture, digital media and found materials, they tell abstract stories about race and contemporary society. Since completing FRANK’s emerging artist program, their work has been displayed at CAM Raleigh and Lump Gallery. 

Austin Cathey


“Although my art education at UNCA was crucial for me, being at FRANK has allowed me to learn so many essential aspects about being a professional practicing artist involved with a gallery. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone at FRANK for being so welcoming, helpful and supportive. I especially enjoyed my time as a member of the hanging committee, as it’s immensely rewarding to help put a group exhibition together. In a few weeks I will be starting the Master of Fine Arts program at Miami University in Ohio. I have no doubt that FRANK was instrumental in elevating my art to another level, thus helping me to get into such a program.”

Austin Cathey was FRANK Gallery’s first featured emerging artist, from 2017-18. He received a bachelor’s degree in drawing from the University of North Carolina Asheville and a master’s degree in painting from Miami University. Through vibrant colors and varied textures, his paintings and drawings explore abstract notions of emotion and memory. Since his completion of FRANK’s emerging artist program, his art has been featured in exhibitions at Eno Mill Gallery and the Miami University Art Museum.