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Donna Franks-Tapley- Artist, Art Educator


I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago.  I lived in a neighborhood that had very little interaction with art. When I was a pre teen I met a local artist who did beautiful airbrush work. He painted t-shirts and murals around our small town. It wasn’t until high school that I realized how much I missed out on.  I soon discovered new media, new technique and new vocabulary in the arts I never knew existed and this fascinated me.  I proceeded to take every art class that would fit into my schedule and by my senior year had fallen deeply in love with painting.

Encouraged by my High School art teacher I knew that I wanted to continue painting and decided to aim high. I received a  small merit scholarship and attended one of the finest art schools in the country at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I earned my bachelor's degree in 2-d and 3d design and became certified in K-12 art education.  I knew after completing grammar school that I wanted to teach, but not just anywhere, I wanted to go back to my old neighborhood that I grew up in and teach “real art” to children from my old neighborhood.  That was my first job as an art educator.  


I have since left my old neighborhood as an art educator and currently work at Bolingbrook High School as a painting and ceramics instructor.  I’ve spent over 20 years now in art education and it still excites and challenges me with every new year.


I pride myself on being a working artist with a passion for teaching and sharing art with the masses. In the past 15 years I completed a Masters degree in painting and have become a muralist and a paint night instructor with fun  ideas and ways to bring people together. 


 In the last couple of years the subject matter in my personal work has brought new life to my paintings with a focus on color and textures. My current medium is acrylic and sand. The organic shapes and segmentation in my work has become a norm and continues a theme I call “Segments of Life” .  Which is where by business name has derived.

 Recently, I have also found a love of symbols and have incorporated them into my work with the intent to find meaning in how humans simultaneously respond to symbols when integrated with the human form and bold color which I'm continuously exploring in my current work.

Welcome to my SOLSegments of Life, my site, my art, my journey my mission.



1993 - 1998

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago BFA,  Art Education

2005 - 2008

Governors State University  MA, Painting

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