ASU alum's exhibit sets foundation for art on senate grounds

The initiative will bring local art to the senate museum

It is a near impossible feat to describe Patsy "Skyline" Lowry without using the word "exuberant." It is a moniker that is displayed not only in the ASU alum's energetic personality, but in her vibrant art style as well—a bright palette of colors on each canvas.

Lowry, a 1964 graduate, is the first contemporary artist to have her work displayed in the hard-to-miss state capitol museum.

The exhibit, “Arizona Spirits,” is the foundation for a new initiative spearheaded by 27th district Arizona state Senator Catherine Miranda to bring more local art into the capitol for the public to view.

Miranda said that the process for the initiative started two years ago, when she was elected into office. After her election, she had a desire to “liven up the senate building with color and diverse meaning.”

She contacted local artist Jim Covarrubias, who assisted her in filling the second and third floors of the senate with artwork. After a reception that welcomed the art, the two generated an idea to invite more artists’ work into the senate museum.

The opening of the new exhibit was tucked away in a small pair of rooms on the first floor of the museum, with a packed house displaying the community and friendships Lowry had built around her. It was rare to see her unable to place a name to a face, and her energy remained constant throughout the event.

The rooms contained works of flowers and sunset skies turned upside down.

Lowry, in a presentation on her art, said that she was “not interested in realism,” preferring to paint landscapes, flowers, and spirits. Lowry said that her art is about "emotional connection and response."

“We have to have more talks, but our plans are to have different artists feature their art every month", Miranda said.

She also said that on the day of Lowry’s exhibit reveal, permission was granted to display artwork within the House of Representatives, a sign that the initiative is seeing growth.

Miranda said that bringing in art to show in the senate grounds was a form of protection for them.

“With education and funding towards (education) in jeopardy, I figured that if we can bring people to the capitol to see and appreciate the art that we put in, then that’s the beginning of appreciation and protection.”

Covarrubias said that he has been a friend of Lowry’s for decades. The two met when Covarrubias interviewed her for his television show, “Artizlan Presents,” where he would interview local artists in the 90s.

“We’re friends because all of the artists hang out together,” he said.

He said that art, “Is a part of Arizona’s culture and business. So I think it’s very important to recognize that, and to recognize what citizens need. Why is culture so important?”

“We realize that in order to continue to have a great nation we need to have a great culture, and we need to have artists who express that.”

“Arizona Spirits” will run from Jan. 18 to March 18.


Reach the reporter at djulienr@asu.edu or follow @legendpenguin on Twitter

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