Queen Anne resident Betty Bowen (1918-1977) played a major role in Seattle cultural life — as assistant director of the Seattle Art Museum, as a civic activist on behalf of the arts and historic preservation, and a promoter of Seattle artists.
Born Betty Cornelius in Kent, Washington to a family tracing its roots to Western Washington’s early settlers, she earned an English degree from the University of Washington. She worked briefly as a reporter for The Seattle Times, then as women’s editor for the Seattle Star. She married John Bowen, captain of ships that laid undersea cables.
During the 1950s, Bowen divided her time between volunteering and public relations work. Dr. Richard Fuller, founder of the Seattle Art Museum, hired her as publicist, then promoted her to assistant director – and she continued in that role until Fuller retired in 1973. She came to know many of the city’s artists.
Betty Bowen played an active part in civic affairs, helping organize support for the arts and for historic preservation. An original member of the Seattle Arts Commission (established 1971), a founding member of the Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Center, and a founding member and chair of the Allied Arts Historic Preservation Committee, she helped organize one of the successful efforts to preserve the Pike Place Market as a designated historic district, and served on the board of Friends of the Market. …Continue reading “Betty Bowen, Cultural Activist”