Honorary Life Member - 1995
Rowena Caldwell Elkin was a tiny little woman who created sculptures of wood, bronze, copper, heavy rope, and paint. Her works were usually much larger than she was. That was part of their charm and interest – very simple with a sense of humor. She remembered influences during childhood such as lessons in violin, drama, Shakespeare, concerts, awareness of shapes, textures; color in world museums and architectural ruins, zoos and wilderness areas. She experienced great love from parents and family. She learned at an early age that great spiritual and aesthetic experiences and humor can help us survive, and she tried to lift spirits through her art.
Ms. Elkin said, “Materials and textures stimulate ideas and feeling which I carry through. Color becomes more important as I grow older. From stage designs I have moved from carved wood sculpture, wood-rope-steel-iron constructions, sheet bronze, copper, brass, and cast bronze to aluminum. I still pursue fascinating fields through literature, but my hands produce sculpture.”
Having received a B.S. degree in visual arts from Texas State College for Women in 1938, she designed stage sets for director Margo Jones in Houston. She married Price Bush Elkin in 1942, and lived in New York, then Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Midland before moving to Dallas in 1963.
Rowena Elkin has four sculptures on display at the Dallas Museum of Art, and a large sculpture at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Her work is at the El Paso Museum of Art, the Los Alamos Gallery, the Clarksville Library, and in the president’s office at Texas Women’s University.
The Elkin’s were significant supporters of the arts in Dallas – they were members of the Dallas Arboretum, the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Chamber Music Society, associate members of the Dallas Museum of Art, and Friends of Contemporary Art.
Rowena Elkin is remembered for her unconditional love of the arts, which made her a mentor to many artists. One of her closest friends was Frances Bagley, Dallas sculptor of renown. According to fellow sculptor and friend Linnea Glatt, “She had an equal amount of passion for everyone who was doing something creative. Whether it was dance, music or art, she was passionate about it.”
Mrs. Elkin suffered for six years with an aneurysm, while continuing to create her sculptures. She left directions for her daughter on how to finish her last project. She died in May of 1996 at the age of 79.