Fac Cowie Claire

Arts, Faculty, Upper School

NWS New Faculty Spotlight: Meet Upper School Visual Arts Teacher Claire Cowie

We're delighted to introduce you to Claire Cowie, a new member of the NWS visual arts teaching faculty in the Upper School. The North Carolina native is known for multi-media sculptures and works-on-paper that address loss, community, ambiguities in perception, shifting landscapes, and the fragmentation of memory. Claire is also a Teaching Artist-in-Residence in the University of Washington’s Interdisciplinary Visual Art Program, and her work is represented by James Harris Gallery and Elizabeth Leach Gallery. She has received numerous awards, and her work is included in the collections of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Henry Art Gallery, Microsoft Corporation, the Tacoma Art Museum, and other prominent businesses and institutions. Read on to learn more about her.

1. What are you teaching at NWS?
Watercolor + Experimental Drawing, and Graphic Design.

2. What stands out about NWS so far?
Delicious food, warm and helpful colleagues, active and engaged students.

3. What do you love about your work?
One of the things I love most about teaching is that each class section has its own group "personality," and every student has their own individual experience to bring to the assignments, so it's always an adventure.

4. What are you excited about professionally?
I'm in an Artist Residency at MadArt in South Lake Union, collaborating on a large installation called "Niche Audience." The work is all made with found and repurposed materials. It's open to the public until December 3. 

Note about the exhibition (from MadArt): Inspired by the form and function of architectural niches, this exhibition comprises a series of free-standing sculptural alcoves made almost entirely of recycled and refuse materials collected from area construction. This material decision is not only a response to ecological issues and material waste, but also conceptually ties into collective human experiences of adaptation and happenstance. A selection of these structures host imaginative figurative objects while others are left empty, creating opportunities for visitors to actively engage with the work and temporarily become part of the installation. In this way, sculptural figures and gallery visitors are both audience and exhibition. To make an appointment to view the exhibition and to learn more, visit: https://madartseattle.com/exhibitions/niche-audience/

5. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Mountain biking, reading, making jewelry, and gardening.

6. What do you appreciate about Seattle and/or the Pacific Northwest?
The Olympic Peninsula is my favorite place I've ever been. Hiking the coast is transformational.

7. Is there a particular book you would recommend? How has it inspired or impacted you?
Ocean Vuong's book "On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous" is amazing. I love the passage, "The eye, alone in its socket, doesn't even know there's another one, just like it, an inch away, just as hungry, as empty."

8. What do you want NWS students and/or our community to know about you?
I grew up in a small town in North Carolina and I love good stories.

9. What qualities do you value most in other community members?
I value optimism, patience, curiosity, a sense of humor, and kindness.