10th Annual Fran Achen Photography Competition

July 5 – 28, 2019

Cultural Arts Center - 402 W. Main St - Whitewater, WI 53190

Opening Reception: July 7, 1:00 - 3:00pm

Awards Presentation: 2:00pm

Contact: Jeff McDonald - jeff.mcdonald@gaelicarts.com

Amateur and professional artists are invited to exhibit their photography at the Tenth Annual Fran Achen Photography Competition to be displayed in July.

Jeff McDonald, chair of the show and Whitewater Arts Alliance board member, said, “The Fran Achen show is truly one of the highlights of the year and the Cultural Arts Center is one of Whitewater's gems. Together they provide a showcase for outstanding work created by both established and aspiring area photographers. It is exciting to see the many ways these artists interpret the world through their images. Fran Achen was an exceptional photographer and his catalog of images continues to inspire. I eagerly await this year's event and hope to see you there.”

Entry Forms & Information

Key Dates

  • Entry Forms & Fees Due: Thursday, June 20

  • Photo Drop-Off: Thursday, June 27 from 4:00 - 6:00pm

  • Opening Reception & Awards Presentation: Sunday, July 7 from 1:00 - 3:00pm with presentation of awards at 2:00pm

  • Viewers’ Choice Award Announcement: Sunday, July 28

  • Photo Pick-Up: Sunday, July 28 from 3:00 - 5:00pm

Fran Achen  |  1916 - 2004

The Whitewater Arance honors Fran Achen's contribution to Whitewater by sponsoring the Annual Fran Achen Photography Competition and Show.

Fran Achen was a longtime Whitewater resident, teacher, and local photographer. He is most remembered for his photographic collection which chronicles the history of Whitewater.

Born in Kenosha in 1916, his interest in photography began after high school. He spent almost two years delivering cars for the Nash automobile factory. "It seemed like such fun to explore America, so that started my interest in photography and geography, which became my major in college," he said.

In 1938, when Fran enrolled at Whitewater State Teachers College, it was the first year enrollment went over one thousand. Fran remembered being the last one to register, making the enrollment that year 1,008 students. While an undergraduate student at the college, he served as a photographer for both the Royal Purple and the former Minneiska yearbook, as well as working as a freelance photographer for the Janesville Gazette, making "a buck a picture" which helped to pay his way through school.

While attending college, Fran met his wife, Lydia. They were married for 55 years and had three children - Chap, Randi, and Jim.


After graduating from college Achen taught social studies for a year before being called up for military service in World War II. Achen served almost four years as the commanding officer of an entirely African American medical unit whose primary duty was to recover wounded soldiers from the front lines. Achen recalled years later that the Rhineland and Central Europe campaign was very successful and remembered crossing the Rhine River just two days after its capture.

When the war was over he pursued his interest in photography by working in a studio in Madison, and later by purchasing a photography studio in downtown Whitewater, where he worked for 11 years.

In 1956, after selling the studio, Achen continued to serve the community as a teacher at Whitewater High School where he taught his favorite subject, geography. He later became assistant audio-visual director for the Janesville school system. Achen retired in 1979. However, he never retired his camera. He continued to photograph the life and events in and around the Whitewater area.

In the 1980s Achen donated nearly 400 custom printed and mounted photographs to the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library. The University of Wisconsin - Whitewater also has an extensive collection of Fran's photos. Although his photo taking slowed down in his later years, Achen said he was never afraid to flip the shutter on what he believed could be a lasting memory or a special photograph.

9th Annual (2018) Awards

  • Best of Show : Jeff McDonald : "Sturgeon Bay Light"

  • Accomplished - 1st Place : William Eklund : "Test 4 Echo"

  • Accomplished - 2nd Place : Mary Ellsworth : "Hen and Chicks"

  • Accomplished - 3rd Place : Karl Mohr : "American Homestead"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention : Everett Long : "Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention : James J Marsala : "Wheels of Change"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention : David Throgmartin : "Great Horned Owl"

  • Amateur - 1st Place : Joseph Suchy : "Fire and Ice"

  • Amateur - 2nd Place : Sandy Ott : "Barn Ghost"

  • Amateur - 3rd Place : Robert Buell : "Winter Scene - Bark River"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention : Robert Buell : "The Forest Floor"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention : Signe Trewyn : "Morning's Work"

  • Youth/Teen - 1st Place : Cambell Alexander : "Resting Butterfly"

  • Youth/Teen - 2nd Place : Morgan Janovec : "Scintillam"

  • Youth/Teen - 3rd Place : Linnea Tabaka : "On the Web"

  • Viewers' Choice: Melanie Hayes : "Fall in the U.P."

8th Annual (2017) Awards

  • Best of Show: Jeff McDonald : "Touch the Sky"

  • Accomplished - 1st Place : Everett Long : "Pelican and Patterns"

  • Accomplished - 2nd Place : James Meldrum : "Solitary"

  • Accomplished - 3rd Place : Heather Browning : "Abandoned Ship"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: William Eklund : "See Both Sides"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Jim Marsala : "End of Summer"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Jeff McDonald : "River Walk"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: James Meldrum : "Winter Calm"

  • Amateur - 1st Place : Robert Buell : "Autumn in Vermont"

  • Amateur - 2nd Place : Sylvia Linton : "Milkweed in Flight"

  • Amateur - 3rd Place : Jessica Osorio : "Dancing in the Violets"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Robert Buell : "Fall Sumac"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Rhonda Kolander : Maddona and Child"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Sandy Ott : "Gracie"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Johnathon Stutzman : "Camouflaged Owl"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Judy Wildermuth : "End of Day"

  • Youth/Teen - 1st Place : Aydon Clikeman : "Glacier"

  • Youth/Teen - 2nd Place : Aydon Clikeman : "Songbird"

  • Youth/Teen - 3rd Place : Aydon Clikeman : "Jenna"

  • Viewers' Choice: William Eklund : "The Woodshed"

7th Annual (2016) Awards

  • Best of Show: William Eklund : "Dawn of Days Gone By"

  • Accomplished - 1st Place : Jeff McDonald : "Wooded Prairie in Winter"

  • Accomplished - 2nd Place : Mary Ellsworth : "Solomon's Seal"

  • Accomplished - 3rd Place : Alan Smith : "Golfers Dream"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Ryan Ebert : "Shake it Off"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Shelley Fox : "Autumn Masquerade"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Everett Long : "Walk into Fall"

  • Accomplished - Honorable Mention: Terry Mayer : "Undisturbed Tranquility"

  • Amateur - 1st Place : Patricia Ehlers Ogren : "Bedroom in Hot Weather"

  • Amateur - 2nd Place : Robert Buell : "Lilies"

  • Amateur - 3rd Place : David Yochum : "Generations"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Dolores Engel : "Magnolia"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: David Flemming : "Port Wen"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Debra Hall : "Snowbirds"

  • Amateur - Honorable Mention: Judy Wildermuth : "Fresh from the Rain"

  • Youth/Teen - 1st Place : Aydon Clikeman : "Emma"

  • Youth/Teen - 2nd Place : Aydon Clikeman : Reflect

  • Youth/Teen - 3rd Place : Hogan Alexander : In the Coffee Shop

  • Youth/Teen - Honorable Mention: Cambell Alexander : "Don't Look Down"

  • Youth/Teen - Honorable Mention: Julia Long : "His Royal Highness"

  • Viewers' Choice: Aydon Clikeman : "Emma"