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The Nicholas Frank Public Library (NFPL) is an exhibition dialogue project based on a circulatory, cyclical model. Each thematic season will introduce a multitude of artworks, new and old, along with events, discussions, publications, sounds, performances and other visual material to complement, supplement, complexify, contextualize, comment upon and otherwise communitize the production of culture with its constituents near and far. Each artwork will receive its introduction within the context of the seasonal theme, then after a period move aside to be joined by newly-introduced artwork, which will then move aside to be joined by newly introduced artwork, and so on for the indeterminate duration of the season, all derived from artists in the expanded community of contemporary art, to include collections, new production, and related material. 

The introductory seasonal theme is Inscription, in part to honor the original manifestation of the NFPL, an itinerant library of blank books its various publics were invited to inscribe.* 


The NFPL is one programming arm of & housed within The Open, an exhibition & event space located at 832 E. Chambers St. in Milwaukee. The Open will host many events, including readings, screenings, performances, discussions, and archives, to include Microlights, the Designers Talking Library, and the various archival manifestations of the NFPL.

*The NFPL was invented in 2002 for the exhibition Plat & Form: The Portable Hermetic Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Foster Gallery, co-curated by Tom Wagener and Stephen Katrosits. The NFPL then traveled with Polly Morris’s Art, Faith & Social Justice project for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts, 2004-05; Cardinal Stritch University; Locust Projects in Miami in 2007; the Green Gallery in 2008, and the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design in 2008. 

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