Dr. Ronald McDowell is a “Modern Day Renaissance Artist” who has had an amazing career that shows no signs of slowing down.
Students and Tuskegee University faculty were on hand to see Dr. McDowell applauded for his creativity, longevity and humanity as an artist. Dean of the Tuskegee University College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Channapatna Prakash said, “His art, the way I like to put it, holds a mirror to our conscience.”
For an overview of his recent successes, watch the video below.
Being celebrated at Tuskegee University for his artistic accomplishments was a shining moment that had him beaming. And seeing people drawn to his original artworks in the lobby of Henderson Hall was just as gratifying as the award he received. “Because it’s not me. It’s what God blessed me with,” said Dr. McDowell whose gift is beyond explanation. He shared with the crowd that his skills are not from any formal training. “I have never had an art lesson in my life.” He said.
The Tuskegee University award follows on the heels of a ceremony in Birmingham where a massive mural was recently unveiled in the Jefferson County Courthouse. The mural visually communicates that racial progress has been made in this community and leadership is shared by men, women and all ethnicities.
Dr. McDowell’s mural stands in stark contrast to other murals also in this lobby that glorify slavery and its cousin…Jim Crow.
Commissioned by cities, counties, universities, parks and other institutions all over this country to capture their most scared icons in art forms, he is now working on a statue for the City of Montgomery honoring Dr. Martin Luther King.
Throughout his life, Dr. McDowell has demonstrated remarkable resilience along with many other attributes including humility, empathy and kindness.
At the award ceremony, a student approached him to discuss hidden images in an art workbook created by Dr. McDowell who counts teaching among his greatest achievements. He feels honored to influence young people to find their own artistic talent, often in spite of deeply-rooted, crippling fears concerning art. “I never dreamed that I would be teaching at Tuskegee.” He reflected on his time as Michael Jackson’s art teacher when they both lived in Los Angeles and talked about his role as the official artist for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. And yet he relishes his role as an art professor. “What I haven’t told my bosses is that I learn more from the students than I teach them. I have been teaching for 30 years and I have never met students like the students here at Tuskegee.”