UW–La Crosse to rename arts building after acclaimed artist and UW–Madison professor emeritus Truman Lowe


The University of Wisconsin–La Crosse will rename its Center for the Arts after UW–Madison Professor Emeritus Truman Lowe, which the university described as “one the most accomplished alumni in the university’s 113-year history.”

Photo of Truman Lowe
Truman Lowe

Lowe graduated from UW–La Crosse in 1969 and became a world-renowned artist and sculptor. His work is described as “bridging the traditional and contemporary, abstract and representational worlds of Native American fine art.”

Lowe joined the UW–Madison School of Education’s Art Department in 1975 and was promoted to full professor in 1989. In 2007 the Wisconsin Arts Board honored Lowe with its Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2008 he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association.

Lowe died in 2019 at age 75.

“During his life, Truman Lowe fully embodied the (UW–La Crosse) spirit — striving for excellence, honoring one’s culture and heritage, and leaving the world a better place than we found it,” UW–La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow said. “I’m proud to call Truman Lowe an alumnus of our university. I hope seeing his name on the Center for the Arts will inspire future generations to learn about his legacy and work to create their own.”

Lowe was born in Black River Falls and is of Ho-Chunk ancestry. He is the first person of color with a UW–La Crosse building named in their honor.

“On a personal level, he was an incredibly empathetic person and always knew what to say to support someone at a pivotal moment in their life,” said Tonia Lowe, Truman’s daughter, in a statement. “Professionally, he was part of a second wave of Native artists that really helped change people’s perceptions of what Native art could be. This feels like recognition for all the work he did to open people’s minds and pave the way for the next generation.”

Lowe will be formally recognized at a building dedication ceremony later this year. To learn more, check out this story from La Crosse’s News8000.com.

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