Mary Frances Dondelinger


DON 0189 Professor of Clownology

Coeur d’ Alene, ID & Tucson, Az


Through visual allegories, metaphors and icons, MF Dondelinger observes the anxieties and motivations of humanity in the West.

She was born in Auburn, California then moved to the northwestern United States where she earned her B.A. degree from Seattle University (1992). She was awarded a NEA Fast-Track grant through the Idaho State Arts Commission (1995) for her exhibit “A Place Called Ferdinand”, a series of oil pastel paintings about the demise of small towns focusing on a rural Idaho community. She also received an NEA Professional Development Grant from Washington State Arts Commission. (1997) She was awarded a position in the Florence Biennale in Italy (2007) with sponsorship from Ampersand Art Supply and private supporters. 
Ms. Dondelinger served as director of Gallery One Visual Arts Center in Ellensburg, Washington (1997-2004) during which time she was responsible for a $1.2 million renovation and restoration of its historic building. Completion of the project and the death of her husband in 2002 led Ms. Dondelinger to re-direct her energies to her studio work. She currently has a studio in Arizona and Idaho.
Since 2003, Ms. Dondelinger has studied the ancient tradition of orthodox religious iconography; its theology, history, materials and practice. She studied at the Monastery of St. Gertrude in central Idaho with iconographer Sr. Carolyn Miguel. In 2005 she apprenticed with master iconographer Fr. Gianluca Busi in Bologna, Italy and thereafter, he continued on-line education and critiques of her work. In 2006 she assisted Fr. Busi in the U.S as he worked and taught at St. Gertrude's. These crucial experiences have proven beneficial to the maturation and development of Dondelinger's contemporary work.
During a one-month residency at Jentel Foundation (2009) in Wyoming, Dondelinger focused on synthesizing the antiquity of the iconography with concerns of modernity. 

Her work is in public and private collections and has been included in exhibits in the U.S., Scotland, Italy and most recently, in the exhibit “GOLD” at the Belvedere Palace Museum in Vienna, Austria.