Governor appoints Rachel Fowler to State Arts Council

Published 11:19 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Gov. Robert Bentley has appointed Dr. Rachel Fowler to the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Fowler is the first Shelby County resident to serve on the board.

Rachel Fowler is a true delight. It is amazing that God has made someone who is so sweet, kind and smart — so absolutely, amazingly talented too.

Columbiana’s Rachel Fowler will serve a six-year term on the State Council of the Arts. (Contributed)

A self-described visual artist, Fowler said, “I cannot imagine my life without art.”

When she is through with her service on the State Arts Council, I am sure that they will not be able to imagine art without her. She is a person who will represent Gov. Bentley and our county well and give her all to improve the arts for all Alabamians.

A professor emeritus at the University of Montevallo, her work includes reoccurring themes of life experiences, thoughts, dreams and reality from her childhood. Even the subject of death has inspired her work.

Her preferred mediums include photography, print making, India ink and mixed media.

One of her earliest works came when she photographed her parent’s hands along with other memorable items from her youth. Together, combined, she created a powerful presentation.

Art has been a “powerful expression” for her — powerful and subtle as well, she said. Whether powerful or subtle, she has used it with excellence.

Her accomplishments are too numerous to list, but a few include: Participating in the Telfair Art Fair and Museum of Art in Savannah, Ga., and as the guest speaker at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta in conjunction with the exhibit Dream Makers: American Children’s Book Illustrators, January 1993.

Fences in Our Lives, from Birth to Death, her photographic essay has made its way to six different towns in Alabama along with her later work Between the Fences, the Museum on Main Street. They were a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the Alabama Humanity Foundation in 2006.

She has served on the members board of the Birmingham Museum of Art and currently serves as an advisor to the Shelby County Arts Council. She is past president of the Arts and Humanities Foundation of Shelby County.

Shelby County’s art community has benefited from Dr. Rachel Fowler’s work and her dedication to the cause. It is nice that Gov. Bentley is now giving her an opportunity to share that same dedication, her skills and abilities with our state.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at