WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 02
OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City University staff member was one of 15 artists selected to show his work at a national disabled artist exhibit in Washington, D.C.
Clinton Bowman, a 2008 OCU graduate who works in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, had his photography accepted after an open call from VSA Arts, an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The “Accelerate” art show opens Sept. 10 and runs through Jan. 6. Bowman will travel to Washington, D.C., to attend a Sept. 17 ceremony with national dignitaries including U.S. senators and representatives. The art will be on exhibit in the performing arts center and at the S. Dillon Ripley Center of the Smithsonian.
Bowman won the trip and a $2,000 prize with his series of photos in various locations featuring a neon sign that reads “Heaven.” His exhibit in the upcoming show includes the sign itself and one of his photos, called “Rubble.”
“I found the sign at a liquidation store just a few blocks from campus,” Bowman said. “I was actually looking for a marquee sign for another project, but when I saw this sign I thought it had a lot of artistic potential.”
He took the sign home and got the lights working again. A neon sign specialist converted the wiring to work with standard voltage so that it could illuminate using an electrical generator.
Bowman, with the help of a couple of friends, drove around to different locations on the outskirts of the metropolitan area in search of good photographic scenery. He explained how the 7-foot-long, 120-pound sign would have to hang out of a window from the Jeep Cherokee they used to scout locations.
“I couldn’t have done it without some help. It’s nice to have good friends,” he said.
Bowman entered the installation art category of the contest. Installation art is something that is designed for a specific area, typically a three-dimensional piece, he explained.
Bowman came to OCU in 2003 and was the school’s first athlete on its new rowing team, which was why he chose to attend the university. He became more and more fascinated by the art of photography and decided to switch majors from business marketing.
He has continued his passion for the art with his own works, and he has a part-time job with the International Photography Hall of Fame in Science Museum Oklahoma.
“I enjoy photography very much, so the decision to make it a career was an easy choice,” he said.
The VSA Arts “Accelerate” show is in its eighth year. The show is held to recognize emerging young artists with disabilities who demonstrate promise in the visual arts.