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Karen Frostig

Professor, Expressive Therapies, College of Art and Design

A photo of Expressive Therapies Professor Karen Frostig in an art studio.

Dr. Karen Frostig is a Professor of Art who teaches in Lesley's Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Art and Design, and in the arts programs in the Graduate School of Education. She is a public memory artist, a writer, a cultural historian, community organizer. She is the Founding Director of the Locker of Memory memorial project to the victims of the Jungfernhof concentration camp (2019-) currently under development and located in Riga, Latvia.

She was the Founding Director of The Vienna Project (2013-2014), a temporary memorial situated in 16 districts in Vienna. She was a Resident Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center (2010-2021) and is now an affiliated scholar at the center. She holds dual citizenship in the United States and in the Republic of Austria.

In 2017, Karen received the Massachusetts College of Art and Design's Distinguished Alumni Award. That same year she was awarded the International Caucus Honor Roll Awardee for Art and Activism, presented by the UN Program of Women's Caucus for Art.

Karen exhibits her work extensively in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. She is a frequent speaker and keynote speaker at international conferences. Karen has received multiple awards and grants from organizations such as the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), National Fund of the Republic of Austria, ZukunftsFonds, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and many more.

She has also published numerous books chapters and articles in professional journals on topics dealing with art activism, memory, testimony, interactive methodologies, visual culture, and public education.







Selected Publications and Presentations

Frostig, K. (2021). Keynote speaker. “Distances and Proximities in Space and Time" Space and Memory in Holocaust Representation, Institute of Humanities, University of Northumbria, UK

Frostig, K. (2018). “Reverberating Losses: What happens when we forget to remember?” Performative Commemoration of Painful Pasts, Michael Levan Editor-in-Chief, Schult, T. (Ed.) In Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies: Special Issue. Vol. 14, No. 3, 109-120.

Frostig, K. (2018). “Liminal Dimensions of Memory” In Anywhere V.II. Douglas, S and Lowry, S (Eds.). Print and design by Conveyer Arts. Published by Project Anywhere and; Parsons Fine Arts, School of Art, Media and Technology, Parsons School of Design, The New School; and Victorian College of the Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, 44-46.

Frostig, K. (2018). “Coming to Terms with the Past: The Vienna Project as an interactive, interdisciplinary model of memorialization” In Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Genocide and Memory. J. Lindert, Maarsobian, A. (Eds). New York: Springer Publishing Company, 283-303.

Frostig, K. (2017). “Activism and Citizenship: Performing Memory and Acts of Memorialization in Austria” in Contemporary Citizenship, Art and Visual Culture: Making and Being Made. C. Dzenko and Avila, T. (Eds.) New York: Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies, 145-157.

Frostig, K. (2017). Featured speaker. “The Vienna Project: Historic Complexities Surrounding Memory in Austria”, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa

Frostig, K. (2017) Featured Speaker: Presenter: “Public Art and The Vienna Project” Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict CGIS Building, Harvard University Cambridge, MA

Frostig, K. (2017). “Anne Frank’s House and Memorials as Texts” in Critical Insights: Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl. R. Amir, Rosenberg, P. (Eds.). Amenia, New York: Grey House Publishing/Salem Press, 206-223.

Frostig, K. (2017). “Activism and Citizenship: Performing Memory and Acts of Memorialization in Austria” in Making and Being Made: Visual Representations and/of Citizenship. C. Dzenko and Avila, T. (Eds.) New York: Rutledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies. (forthcoming).

Frostig, K. (2017). Featured Speaker: “The Vienna Project” Speaker series. Holocaust Center, Wagner College, Staten Island, New York

Frostig, K. (2017). “Anne Frank’s House and Memorials as Texts” in Critical Insights: Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl. R. Amir, Rosenberg, P. (Eds.). Hackensack:, New Jersey: Salem Press. (forthcoming).

Frostig, K. (2016). Keynote Speaker: Performing the Archives: Art, History, and New Models of Memorialization Commemorating Painful Pasts through Performative Practices Department of Culture and Aesthetic, Stockholm University, Sweden

Frostig, K. (2016). “Ruptured Memory on the Streets of Vienna.” Journal for the Study of Antisemitism, Special Issue: Oral History and Life Stories Network, Holocaust and antisemitism, Vol. 7, 135-148.

Frostig, K. (2016). “Embodying Otherness.” In M. Meskimmon & M. Arnold (Eds.), Home/ Land: Women, Citizenship and Photographies. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 41-46. ISBN: 978-1-78138-280-6

Frostig, K. (2014). “Performing Memory on the Streets of Vienna” About Performance: Special Issue: High Stakes: Risk and Performance; Journal of the Department of Performance Studies at the University of Sydney, No. 12 , 45-62.

Frostig, K. (2014). “Memory and The Vienna Project.” Closing ceremonies at the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, at Hofburg Palace. Speakers: Margit Fischer; Dr. Johanna Rachinger, General Director of the Austrian National Library; President Oskar Deutsch of the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien; DDr. Oliver Rathkolb, Director of Institut für Zeitgeschichte University at University of Vienna; Rector Gerald Bast, University of Applied Arts, Vienna.

Frostig, K. (2014). Keynote speaker: “Memory: Me (personal), We (social), and Us (global)” Karen Frostig Annual Art Therapy Department spring semester symposium; School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Frostig, K. (2013). “Making Memory Visible,” In T. Fawns (Ed.), Memory and Meaning: Digital Differences. Oxford, United Kingdom: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 133-150. ISBN: 978-1-84888-249-2

Frostig, K. (2013). “Citizenship After Genocide: Materializing memory through art activism” In S. Roseneil (Ed.), Beyond Citizenship: Feminism and the Transformation of Belonging, UK: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.

Selected Exhibitions

Frostig, K. (2014). “Naming Memorial” installation of 91,780 persecuted Austrian victims of National Socialism, projected onto the facades of buildings surrounding Josefplatz. Conceived and directed by Karen Frostig and realized by video artist Elisabeth Wildling and PANI projection company.

Frostig, K. (2013). “Touched by the Holocaust,” National Exhibition, Curator: Ellen Deitell Newman, Independent Artist, Synagogue for the Arts Gallery Space, New York, NY  

Frostig, K. (2013). “Diaspora,” National Juried Exhibition, Juror: Laura Kruger, Hebrew Union College Museum, New Century Artists Gallery, New York, NY

Frostig, K. (2012). “Spirit of Art in Vienna,” International Invitational Exhibition, Curator: Zina Bercovici, MOYA-Museum of Young Art located in the pictorial 17th century Palais Schonborn, Vienna, AT

Major Projects

2019- Locker of Memory, Riga, Latvia

2013-2014 The Vienna Project, Vienna, Austria

2008 Aus Dem Exil/The Exiled Memory Project, Vienna, Austria

2007 & 2009 Co-Director: CyberArts Festival: Night Vision, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA

2003 Director: Earth Wounds, Andover Newton Theological School, Newton, MA

Grants and Awards

2021 German Embassy in Latvia “Deportation Commemoration”

2021 Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture (MFJC) “Locker of Memory”

2021 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “Locker of Memory”

2021 Targum Shlishi, US: “Lock(er) of Memory” Memorial Project

2021 Russell Fellowship, Lesley University “Locker of Memory”

2020 Lesley University Faculty Development Grant: “Locker of Memory” Memorial Project

2019 Zukunftsfond of the Republic of Austria, Vienna, AT: “Lock(er) of Memory”

2019 Brandies University WSRC Research Grant: “Lock(er) of Memory"

2018 Lesley University Faculty Development Grant: “Lock(er) of Memory”

2017 International Caucus Honor Roll Awardee for Art and Activism, presented by the UN Program of Women's Caucus for Art. In recognition of an artist who has created a substantial and significant body of work that supports UN Platforms, especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Award was announced at the Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony at the College of Art Conference in LA.

2017 Massachusetts College of Art and Design Distinguished Alumni Award

2017 Lesley University Faculty Development Grant “Memorialization as an expression of Democracy”

2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cambridge Arts Council Grant “The Vienna Project” 

2016 Sabbatical, Lesley University

2014 Acquisition of The Vienna Project’s “Memory Map” for permanent collection at the Jewish Museum Vienna

2014 Raiffeisen Bank International “The Vienna Project”

2014 Kapsch AG The Vienna Project

2014 Angewandte, Wien, The Vienna Project

2014 BMBF-Federal Ministry for Education and Women, Vienna, AT 2014 Marcie Tyre Travel Fund “The Vienna Project”

2014 Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien (Magistratsabteilung 7): “The Vienna Project” 2014 Ottakringer AG “The Vienna Project” 2014 National Fund “The Vienna Project”

2014. Russell Fellowship Lesley University , School of Education: “To Not Forget as We Remember”

2014 Zukunftsfond “The Vienna Project”

2013 Karl Kahane Foundation, Vienna, AT: “The Vienna Project”

2013 US Embassy Grant, Vienna, At: “Orte der Erinnerung/The Vienna Project”

2013 Embassy of the State of Israel in Austria

2013 BKA-Federal Ministry-New Media, Vienna, AT: “The Vienna Project”

2013 National Fund, Vienna, AT: “Orte der Erinnerung/The Vienna Project” 2013 BMUKK-Federal Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture, Vienna, AT: “Orte der Erinnerung/The Vienna


Trauma, Memory, and Public

Art Art Activism in the Community

History of Public Art, Monuments & Memorials

Performing Social Justice in Public Space

Interactive New Media

Art, Culture, and Community

Visual Art Inquiry


BFA, Massachusetts College of Art

MEd, Lesley University

PhD, Union Institute and University