We have to educate our perception; it has to be gathered and shepherded, and it needs something to graze upon.

Frederick Sommer
Art and Aesthetics, 1982

Frederick & Frances Sommer Foundation

The Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation is a non-profit charitable trust with 501(c)3 tax status established in 1993 by Frederick and Frances Sommer with a mission statement to support aesthetic pursuits related to the environment and quality of life.

Original Trustees:
Frederick Sommer, 1993-1999
Frances Sommer, 1993-1999
Stephen Aldrich, 1993-2002
Walton Mendelson, 1993-2002
Naomi Lyons, 1993-

Current Trustees:
Naomi Lyons, Amy Jaspers (2002), Jeremy Cox (2002)

The Foundation is located in Prescott, Arizona and holds Frederick Sommer's personal library, a collection of artwork, maintains this website and reviews reproduction requests.

The cabin where Fred and Frances resided for 61-years is currently connected to a fellowship program at Prescott College. This collaboration with Prescott College established in 2000 provides housing in the Sommer cabin during a student's senior year of enrollment. The Sommer cabin includes a spacious studio and a B/W darkroom. This Fellowship is intended to lend the environmental support the chosen student needs for concentration and creativity, "We are environment making towards ourselves," Frederick Sommer. The Fellowship is awarded through an application process managed by Arts and Letters faculty of Prescott College with the final award choice made by the Trustees of the Sommer Foundation. The Fellow is selected on the merit of the student's creative writing skill, academic accomplishments and their artistic seriousness. All Resident Degree Program students in the Arts & Letters Program are eligible to apply during their junior year. The Fellowship is non-discriminatory toward the various disciplines of study within the Arts & Letters Program : performers, writers, studio artists, photographers, sculptors, art educators and/or historians are encouraged to apply.

Prescott College and the Sommer Fellowship 2017-18 download the Fellowship App PDF


2016-2017 Gelisa Senteno

2015-2016 Emilyann Dearborn

2014-2015 Amber 'Cricket' Harrington
Interdisciplinary Arts and Letters

2013-2014 Yarrow Corymb
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Visual Arts

2012-2013 Zoe Mason
Creative Writing and Latin American Studies

2011-2012 Laura Hitt
Creative Writing and Literature

2010-2011 Allison Field Bell
Creative Writing and Literature

2009-2010 Jessica Roth
Arts & Letters / Environmental Studies

2008-2009 Travis Patterson
Photography and Education

2007-2008 Lydia Paar
Cultural studies / Writing & Literature program

2006-2007 Iris Cushing
Studio Arts and Writing

2005-2006 Megan Flaherty

2004-2005 Sam Reed
Writing & Literature

PDF page 20 & 21 from Transitions (Fall, 2004), a Prescott College publication where Sam and Maximillian both write about their experience with the fellowship.

2003-2004 Maximillian Wahlberg
Photography and Environmental Studies emphasis in Environmental Education

2002-2003 John Nicholas (Niko) Raterman
Education and Studio Arts with a concentration in Painting

2001-2002 Aidan Clowes & Courtney Ortel
A shared award, Photographic Studies

Prescott College press release for 2002
"Transitions" newsletter PDF, pg. 10-11

The Foundation is not currently accepting grant applications.
Previous grants, loans and support have been made to:

2010-2013 additional outside grants were not solicited

2009 loan to exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ

2008 loan to exhibition at Hollins University, Virginia


2006 loan to exhibitions at Phippen Museum; Smithsonian SITES

2005 several exhibitions associated with Sommer's centennial


The Center for Creative Photography - A Sekonic L-508 light-meter to aid in reproduction work and installation shots.

Yavapai College : For the month of October in 2002, a 45-piece exhibition of photographs, drawings and collage were on display at the Yavapai College Art Gallery. This was the first solo-exhibition of Sommer's artwork in Prescott. The Sommer Foundation funded and co-curated the show in addition to providing 15 gallery talks during the 30-day exhibit. Yavapai College is our community college and serves the needs of all age groups seeking an education in northern Arizona. Attending the talks were photography and art classes from Sedona, Tempe, Tucson, Camp Verde along with Prescott College, Yavapai College and the Prescott Unified School District.

Public parks : In the Mountain Club, where the Sommers lived for 64-years, there is a tree-lined playground. Because of recent attention to fire danger in the surrounding Ponderosa forest on the south side of Prescott, these trees, towering over the power lines were threatened with removal. The Sommer Foundation in collaboration with the Mountain Club Homeowner's Association Board, worked with Arizona Public Service (APS), Qwest and CableOne to bury the lines, saving the park's trees. Over $21,000 was raised and $24,000 of volunteer equipment and labor were donated through contributions and grants from the Yavapai College Leadership Center, the Arizona State Parks and Recreation Department, the Arizona Community Fund, Al Minor Construction and the Frederick & Frances Sommer Foundation.

Center for Creative Photography : the Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation made an additional gift, making the total contribution endowment level in the name of Frederick and Frances Sommer.

The Center for Creative Photography : The Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation purchased a Better Light digital capture system to support access to and preservation of the Center's growing collection of photographs and archive materials.

Year 2000 and older -
Center for Creative Photography
Lively Foundation.
PBS, Channel 8, Phoenix.

Page updated March 2015