Coming soon to Park Avenue: The Frazetta Museum

May 15, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

BY MARCY SHORTUSE – One of the greatest sorrows this writer could feel about the damnable virus that came and took so much away from us as a society, is the fact that the newest and most interesting establishment on Park Avenue was unable to properly open. 
The Frazetta Museum, located in the building that once housed Holly’s Island Gifts (next to Sam Murphy Park) was scheduled to hold their opening just weeks ago, but only a handful of fans made it through before the museum closed down again.
For those who aren’t familiar with Frank Frazetta, he was the most prolific fantasy artist in the world. His career spanned decades, and he was still painting until he passed away on May 10, 2010. He spent time at his home in Pennsylvania and in Boca Grande, which he and his wife, Ellie, purchased in 1995. His daughter, Holly, has a residence there, and she and her family are opening the museum on the first floor.
Many original Frazetta works – at least 15 original oil paintings, as well as 10 pen-and-ink works, and some pencil and watercolor pieces will be featured in the museum. Some original Johnny Comet comic strips from the 1950s and 60s will be there as well. 
Two of Frazetta’s most popular works – Death Dealer II and Conan Man Ape – are among the oils that will be on display. 
Sara Frazetta, Frank’s granddaughter, said they were very skeptical as to whether or not the museum would ever actually come to fruition. It was a topic of conversation for years amongst the family.
“A lot of factors had to fall in line in order for this to come together and, miraculously, they did,” she said. 
Sara said the plan to open the museum became more real when they went to San Diego Comic Con in 2019. 
“We spoke to a few of our colleagues there about attending and holding events,” she said. “We also reached out to a few professors at Ringling and planned to tour professors and students alike. 
“Unfortunately, we were hit with the pandemic as soon as we opened. We were able to tour eight people before closing. We plan to reopen January 2021 to April 2021.It will be appointment only, due to it being a small space. We want fans to experience a very personalized tour.” 
 Sara said an appointment maker will be set up on their website, frazettagirls.com, as the opening day approaches. They are still trying to figure out if they will have a “grand opening” party.
The Frazetta Girls also plan to host events at the museum, such as a Dungeons & Dragons game that has been scheduled for early next year. The game will be streamed live, and will run approximately four hours long.
For those who are not familiar, Dungeons & Dragons (also known as D&D) is a fantasy role-playing game originally created by TSR Wizards of the West Coast decades ago. The game features each player picking their own character, then rolling dice to bring the character into existence. 
For instance, a high role in the charisma category means your character would have a high charisma. A low roll in intelligence means your character would struggle with that trait, and would be penalized for it with each roll of the dice pertaining to intelligence.
The game is led by a “Dungeon Master,” who writes the adventures and keeps the players in line (which is almost always necessary). With each new situation in the adventure, characters roll the dice yet again to see how they fare. In combat, the excitement is formidable.
While some players also incorporate LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) into their games, the majority of players prefer the pen to the sword, and melee actions are performed while sitting around a table eating snacks and rolling dice.
“It will be the Frazetta Girls first Dungeons & Dragons experience,” Sara said. “We are hoping to have celebrity Joe Manganiello attend. We are currently working with him with his Death Saves brand. He’s basically reviving the entire culture of D&D and is a HUGE fan of Frazetta. We were one of the first brands that he licensed imagery from for his first wave of apparel.”
Other well-known people who love Frazetta art include members of the band Tool (who were supposed to stop by the museum when they were in Tampa, but … well, you know. COVID) and Kirk Hammett from the band Metallica. In fact, one of the best-known art transactions in modern times was when Hammett purchased Frazetta’s cover artwork for the paperback reissue of “Conan the Conqueror” for $1 million.
This author had the privilege of profiling Frazetta just months before he passed away, and we will run a more thorough look into his biography and art career just prior to the opening of the museum. There is too much to say, and there is no reason to write it in this small space without doing his life’s work, and his life in general, justice.
There will be no admission when the museum opens, and there will be a gift shop to purchase limited edition merchandise. Remember though, it is by appointment only.
Keep checking the Beacon as we head into 2021, we will be the first to let you know about this developing story.