• By Lauren Reeves

Alumnae Franco sisters display their artwork in the Senior Capstone exhibit

While many people know them as the successful Minot State three-sport athletes and twin sisters from Long Beach, California, few people know about the artistic achievements of new alumnae Ashley and Andrea Franco. Outside of the athletic world, both sisters have had their work on display at 62 Doors, an art gallery located in downtown Minot, in the 2015 Art in the Dark exhibition and in Minot State University’s 2017 and 2019 Juried Student Shows.

After studying for five years as art majors, the Franco sisters now have their work on display in the Minot State University’s Northwest Arts Center as part of the 2020 Student Capstone exhibition. The exhibition is on view through Friday.

Their work is a display of charcoal split portraits showing a different emotion in each picture. The project was set up at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year as both of them tried to express an emotion through a drawing without seeing the other person’s work. Working with white charcoal on black paper, the Franco sisters drew a total of nine pictures together, five split self-portraits representing different emotions and four focusing on emotions conveyed in just the eyes. Ashley Franco’s pictures are displayed on the left and Andrea Franco’s pictures are displayed on the right side of her sister’s work.

“They were given some options as to what they could do for their project, and they chose this one to see what techniques the other one would choose,” said Greg Vettel, Northwest Arts Center director and Minot State art instructor. “Even though they are twins and usually do things the same way, their art styles are still very different. Even though they were working on the same project, their choices are very different.”

Vettel explained that the capstone exhibit is a way for seniors to pull together all that they have learned and put it into one project that they work on throughout their senior year. Students do all the work themselves and are only given advice from the professors in the art department. The task is not easy, but Vettel said that for the Franco sisters, they still went above and beyond to make their work stand out and be unique while balancing sports along the way.

“For many people, there are sacrifices that have to be made in order to accomplish one thing; however, with the twins, this was not the case in any way,” said Vettel. “Not only did they excel in academics and art, but they also excelled in the three sports, which is impressive in itself.”

Vettel also remarked that the Franco sisters had a mixed advantage and disadvantage, explaining that while they both worked on the same project, they are both competitive and wanted to outdo each other.

“It’s kind of funny, since they both worked on the same project and have their work displayed together, they still felt the need to compete with each other,” said Vettel. “It’s sort of a good thing, though, because they push each other to do better in their art, and it shows that the competition brings out the best of their work.”

This competitiveness, Vettel explained, has been around since the time the Franco sisters came to Minot five years ago. They have pushed each other in everything and have brought out the best of each other through competitiveness, especially in their artwork.

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