William Edward “Bill” Lowe
Founder of Atlanta’s internationally renowned contemporary art gallery, Bill Lowe Gallery, Bill spent his adult life seeking out, curating and championing the very best the art world had to give. He brought many artists from the U.S. and around the world the notice and support he believed they deserved. From folk artists of the Deep South to fresh, pathbreaking geniuses in this country and globally, these artists reflected Bill’s core artistic concerns: “Art,” he said, “should be universal, transcendent, eternal and exalted.” For Bill and his beloved gallery, art that was worthy would always be an expression of great beauty and meaning.
For more than 30 years, Bill gave the art world and public dozens of spectacular exhibits in Atlanta, Santa Monica, the Hamptons and other venues. His irrepressible love of the art and artists burst forth as he energetically explored, described and advocated for the work and those who created it. He was an impressive, animated figure who raised the love of art to an art itself. Thousands of artists, collectors, students and others who shared his joyful promotion of art, beauty, love, friendship and Atlanta and Santa Monica were touched by his intellect, creativity, passion and humor — humor that sprang often from his deep, lifelong appreciation of his Alabama and Georgia roots. At times a dark or haughty humor, he knew, loved and often reflected upon where he was from and how that background had shaped him. And he could engage with anyone, regardless of their “status.” Indeed, he was known to deeply dislike art snobbery — and snobbery of any kind. Because Bill was a believer in the dignity, promise and basic goodness of all people. And the truth that all people can love art.
Prior to becoming an art icon, Bill worked in radio advertising, in Columbus, Georgia. He had great affection for Columbus — and Anniston, Alabama — the two towns where he spent most of his childhood. He also adored the North Carolina town of Scaly Mountain, where he once owned a second home, and Santa Monica, CA, where he lived part-time for many years.
Bill contributed to people and organizations across the social and political spectrums, bountifully uplifting his and other families and his community, the nation and the world, with the humanitarian’s compassion and enthusiasm. If beauty, comfort, security, abundance and love could be bestowed, Bill did the bestowing. First and foremost always, upon his own family.
As Bill believed God did of all people, in Bill God truly made a work of art. A man who spread the beautiful, the novel, the joyful, the peaceful to everyone he possibly could. Few, if any, have ever been more generous, of heart or materiality. If he could help you, he did. He, in truth, was an artist. A magnificent cosmic artist who turned virtually all things he touched into the loveliest things around.
Bill is survived by his seven siblings — Susan; John; Eva; Guy; Wesley; Bessie (John); and Mary (Ray) — and by his three nieces, three nephews, two great-nieces, five great-nephews and many dear friends who will remember him lovingly always.
May Bill rest in eternal peace.
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