Joyce Owens is a painter. She also creates sculptural works and masks. Owens earned a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Her main influences there were Lester Johnson and Bernard Chaet. Others who guided her at Yale were Willie Ruff, musician, William Bailey, artist and Al Held. Her undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), was conferred by Howard University in our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C., where she studied with preeminent African American artists and scholars including David Driskell, the historian and curator of the Bill and Camille Cosby Collection, the late Lois Mailou Jones, internationally known painter, Ed Love, sculptor and Owens’ mentor until his premature death, historian and painter Dr. James Porter and printmaker and painter, James L. Wells. California artist Leo Robinson was an important guide during undergraduate years as was Lloyd McNeill.
A professor of painting and drawing at Chicago State University, she also curates for the two on-campus galleries. Owens has been sought out to jury fine art exhibitions and art fairs at the Museum of Science and Industry, The DuSable Museum, Woman made Gallery, Women's Caucus for Art and The New East Side Art Fair to name a few. She has been a curator for many successful shows and an arts facilitator/consultant putting together artists with events. Owens is a knowledgeable arts panelist who has also developed discussion topics for galleries at Columbia College in Chicago, The Chicago department of Cultural Affairs, The School of the Art Institute, The Carver Museum in Austin, Texas and more. Owens has taught studio painting and drawing classes at Chicago State University since 1996 while also maintaining an active exhibition career. She has been sitting on the Advisory Committee for the Department of Cultural Affair’s Chicago Artists Month since 2002. She consults with the Chicago Artists Coalition, and is on the Advisory Board of Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Owens is an associate editor for The Journal of African American History.
In college Owens was the art editor for Howard’s literary magazine for several years. She won the Student Council Award in Painting and The Special Talent Grant for three years, paying her tuition. She was also on the Dean’s list. While still an undergraduate McGraw-Hill hired Ms. Owens to illustrate two children’s’ books.
Joyce Owens is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended Germantown High school where she excelled in art and was selected to be the editor of her high school year book among her other varied activities. She attended art classes at Philadelphia High School for Girls and Tyler School of Art on Saturdays. During her summers off, Ms. Owens worked as a camp counselor, becoming the Arts and Crafts Director for William Penn Camp when she graduated from Howard. During a summer after graduation she worked in a city of Philadelphia arts program with, now presidential portrait painter, Simmie Knox.
Owens taught art in a Philadelphia public school called the Franklin House. This facility was available to behaviorally disturbed students. Ms. Owens learned to teach reading in addition to art when she became aware of the need for more trained personnel in that area.
While a graduate student at Yale Ms. Owens was an art consultant teaching art in a public school program. She was also asked to create art for the Yale literary magazine and a poster for the historic Whiffenpoofs. At graduation she was selected the class marshall and won the Helen Winternitz Award in Painting.
Ms. Owens used her creative imagination to produce local programming for television in Philadelphia at the, then, CBS owned and operated station, WCAU. John Facenda, the voice of the NFL, was the talent for her broadcasts. Owens later moved to Chicago and worked for CBS in many capacities, finally becoming the station’s Graphics Coordinator for News. Ms. Owens left CBS after eight years to pursue her art career and start a family.
After presenting a solo exhibition at Chicago State University Owens was asked to join the teaching staff in 1996 and has been teaching drawing, painting and art history since.
Ms. Owens has exhibited her work extensively including The Museum of Science and Industry’s annual juried Black Creativity exhibition where she won many prizes including Best of Show, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago where she won First Place in the 5th International Art Open from juror, internationally acclaimed artist, Faith Ringgold competing with 500 artists to win a solo exhibition. Owens also won First Prize in the 9th International Open at Woman Made Gallery in 2006, juried by the Chicago Sun-Times art critic and Artnews correspondent Margaret Hawkins, out of nearly 1200 international entries. Owens won “Best of Show” at ARC Gallery in February 2006, juried by John Pittman Weber. Both awards are solo exhibitions. Ms. Owens has exhibited at both Nicole Galleries, in River North and Bronzeville, Wood Street Gallery and Sculpture Garden was another venue for a solo exhibition as well as Elmhurst College, all in Chicago and Illinois. Owens exhibited at Connecticut College, The University of Pennsylvania Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has exhibited work at the Butridge Gallery in Austin, Texas and at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in a national juried exhibition. She was selected to exhibit at The Homewood Studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a two-person show with ceramic artist, Marva Pitchford Jolly.