Detroit artist opens her debut solo exhibition at 70 years old

Judy Bowman’s figurative collage work is on display at MOCAD now through March 2023.

vibrantly colored collage depicting a family in their home

It’s never too late for an artist to start sharing their work.

At 70 years old, Judy Bowman is a mixed-media collage artist whose debut solo exhibition, Gratiot Griot, is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit now through March 2023.

She was raised in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, and she sees it as her job to tell stories that are reflective of her coming of age experiences. Scenes in her vibrant collages depict love, community and a type of fellowship that resides in jazz nights, the sway of young Black women and the swag of young Black men, church on Sundays followed by family dinner, family outings and cultural dignity and richness.

She joined CultureShift to talk about her late-in-life introduction to professional art, her new exhibition and the generosity of Detroit’s art scene.

“This is what I feel like I’m here to do, and here to be — to share my art, to share my story. It’s just been wonderful.” — Judy Bowman, artist

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.
  • Sophia Jozwiak
    Sophia Jozwiak is the Digital Content and Communities Assistant for 101.9 WDET.