Carolyn Frohsin Heller
Carolyn F. Heller was a Florida artist who created works of bold shape and vivid color.
She was influenced by abstract expression early in her 60-year career, yet her style evolved to embrace an unambiguous and playful vitality that mirrored her personality.
She started drawing and painting in the 1950s. Beginning with print-making, wood-cuts and acrylics on canvas, she expanded into mixed-media on fabric, furniture and other everyday items. She crafted jewelry and silk scarves. In every
context, her work was sensual and full of energy.
An Alabama native, Carolyn studied fine arts at Sophie Newcomb College at Tulane University in New Orleans and
continued her training at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she lived for more than 50 years. She also
studied at the Tampa Museum of Art. She was drawn to the abstract, its free form and vibrancy in artists she admired,
such as Ida Kohlmeyer, Elaine de Kooning, Syd Solomon and other abstract expressionists.
Later in life, Carolyn looked to the natural, tropical world for inspiration. Her intention was irreverent and flirtatious: fruit, flowers and insects were depicted with elegance and humor. She gave her fish sly expressions and bright lipstick. She endowed her blushing pears with full-figured rear ends. Her wide-ranging works are held in private and public collections
across the United States and have been featured in galleries, art shows and exhibitions in Florida and the Southeast.
She was passionate about gardening and public art. She was a long-serving member of the Arts Council of Hillsborough
County, which funds cultural services. She also helped establish the county’s Public Art Committee, which selects and
purchases artwork for public display. She also was a human rights advocate. In 1997, the Tampa AIDS Network
commissioned her to create its annual signature piece of art for its Art for Life benefit.
Carolyn’s family seeks to honor her memory in an online gallery, permanently exhibiting works from her collection.
About the Carolyn F. Heller Grant Award
The Carolyn F. Heller Grant, a permanent award supported by a fund created by donations to Hillsborough Arts, is
presented annually to the top-scoring artist in the Council’s Individual Artist Grant Program. The program funds
accomplished artists or those with promising potential, providing support for specific projects that would further advance
the artists’ professional growth. Passionate about public art, Carolyn F. Heller was a long-serving member of the Arts
Council of Hillsborough County. She also helped establish the county’s Public Art Committee, which selects and purchases
artwork for public display.
CAROLYN F. HELLER GRANT WINNERS:
2018 – Rebecca Sexton Larson
2017 – Michael Parker
2016 – Laura Waller
2015 – Susan Gott
2014 – Michael Covello
2013 – Michael Parker
2012 – Arnolkis Turro
To make a donation in Carolyn’s honor: