“After I got my masters and started teaching… I Just fell in love with art because it was me.” Wallace Owens was born and raised in Muskogee, Oklahoma and currently lives in Guthrie, Oklahoma where he continues to actively participate in the visual arts community. A visual artist, educator and life-long student, Owens has had a prolific career in the arts. His journey in the arts begins shortly after serving in the United States military. Owen’s always found time to sketch and draw when he was growing up. After his time spent in the armed forces, he took his first art courses at Langston University in 1955. Graduating with his degree in arts education in 1959, his education would take him to Greenville, South Carolina where he would teach for two years before moving to California for a short time to work in aerospace engineering at The Lockheed Corporation. During this time he would save up his money with the intent of going to graduate school.
Upon his return from the coast, he would head to Edmond, Oklahoma to earn his Master of Education from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) in 1965 and the following year earn his MFA abroad at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1966. The same year he received his MFA, Owens began teaching visual arts courses at Langston University where he would also serve as chairman of the art department until 1980. As an educator there, he continued to travel and study abroad at the American Center for Artists in Paris in 1969, the University of Rome in 1970 as a Fulbright scholar and West Africa through Howard University in 1974.
In 1980, Wallace Owens joined the art department of Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) where he was an art professor until 2005. During this time, he was commissioned to create a twenty-two-foot metal sculpture for the centennial celebration of Langston University. After Owens retired as an educator, he founded Owens Art Place Museum in Guthrie, Oklahoma to exhibit art and encourage cultural and educational experiences in the community. His work has been included in numerous group and one-person exhibitions at the Oklahoma University Art Museum (now the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art), Kirkpatrick Galleries at Omniplex (now Science Museum Oklahoma), and the Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center at Langston University. His work is also part of the state arts council’s permanent collection.