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Priscilla DeVantier Bowen

Priscilla DeVantier Bowen

Born: Niagara Falls, New York, United States

Priscilla DeVantier Bowen is part of the Living Legacy Project at the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Click here to listen to her artist interview. Priscilla Bowen's Living Legacy Project interview is also available on iTunes and Sticher for download. 


 Priscilla Bowen, a fourth generation Western New York native, was a life-long artist whose broad focus included painting, drawing, paper making, and enamel art. In addition, she pursued careers in art education, graphic design, and horticulture. She was noted for her boundless curiosity and energy.

Bowen received her BS (1960) and MS (1976) in Art Education from  Buffalo State College. In 1976, she completed a Master's project in enameling under professor Harold Helwig. In 1976-78, she participated as an enamel artist at Artpark during the height of the organization's Artist in Residence program.

Bowen illustrated a wide variety of literary works, from poetry books to magazines. From 1965-97, she designed the cover illustrations for Paunch, a journal of literary criticism published by Dr. Arthur Efron at the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1987, she collaborated with poet Jimmie Canfield on images for her poetry collection Pieces of Bread.

Bowen was a vibrant part of the WNY community her entire adult life and had extensive solo and group exhibitions throughout the region. Her solo shows were held at venues including the Olean Public Library Gallery (2008), the C.G. Jung Center (2006), and Pausa Art House, where hers was the inaugural show at the gallery in 2013. As a member of the Buffalo Society of Artists, she participated in their group shows, winning Best of Show at the organization's 2007 Spring Exhibition. In 2000, 2002, and 2003, Bowen won the Best Drawing Award at the Niagara Frontier Annual Art Show at the Kenan Center in Lockport, N.Y. Her work is in the collections of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Roswell Park Cancer Center, Children's Hospital of Buffalo, and musician Ani DiFranco, among others.

Priscilla Bowen was a dedicated volunteer for and friend of the Burchfield Penney Art Center (BPAC) for many years. In an undated letter to Associate Director Scott Propeack (c. 2012), she described her lifelong connection to the art scene of Western New York and the Burchfield Penney:

"My connection to and love for Western New York is lifelong. Born and raised in Wheatfield back when it was 'country,' I connected with the nature of [the region]....  I fell in love with the city and with the work, writings, and thinking of Charles Burchfield. Still here and lovin' it all 57 years later. I have been a member of and a volunteer for the BPAC for many years. I received the Esprit de Corps award in 2009, helping to install the Duane Hatchett exhibition, as well as both "Artists Among Us" exhibitions. I have donated my art work to the Annual Gala, also for a number of years, and am listed in the BPAC registry online. I am active in preservation concerns in WNY as well. It's a one-piece place, WNY, very connected, interwoven--my kind of place."