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Marylin Rose

A Brief History

The Marilyn Rose Center is an open air art installation dedicated to graffiti. Have you ever wondered about its history? The building is named after Marilyn Rose Simpson, a graduate of the Herron School of Art and Design, who dedicated the building’s exterior walls to the graffiti arts program at Herron. Simpson and her husband Terry owned the American Tent & Awning Co., Inc. for more than 25 years – she passed in 2017. Before American Tent & Awning the building was a distribution center for Red Dot Foods. Red Dot Foods, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, was founded in 1938. Red Dot’s founder, Frederick Meyer, had been selling snack foods to grocery stores since 1931. Frederick Meyer started focusing on the new and hip potato chip, making a fortune. When his company turned 25 years old in 1956, Red Dot dominated the Midwest snack food industry with eight factories making potato chips for 35,000 retail outlets. On May 5, 1961, Meyer sold his company to H.W. Lay & Company. Despondent over the sale, Meyer killed himself with a shotgun at his home while his wife baked cookies. Later that year, Lay’s merged with The Frito Company to become Frito-Lay, Inc. They slowly marginalized the Red Dot brand. It was discontinued in 1973. This building was controlled by Frito-Lay until the Simpsons came along and dedicated it to the arts.

Conor Lee
Author: Conor Lee

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