The Heroines

Annie Lowrey

is honored with a Brick from Christina Hesse.

 Annie  Lowrey There have been many women whose lives have touched mine in meaningful ways, some in major ways and some I probably didn't even notice. In general, I admire the strength and determination of countless women; in particular, though, I wanted to honor one extraordinary woman, one that has impacted my life, in the Plaza of Heroines. I thought about this for a long time. She must be a woman with vision, passion, and insight; she must also be a woman not easily forgotten, one that has inspired, either by word or deed, others to be like her. Each time I thought about this, one woman kept coming to mind - Annie Lowrey.

You cannot talk about Annie Lowrey without talking about the arts. When you listen to her speak, you suddenly understand. It doesn't matter if you are just beginning to discover your own interest or whether you have always been active in the arts - Annie draws you in. Her passion for her subjects and students, as well as her quiet, commanding presence inspire and involve us.

I met Annie this way, through our mutual love for the arts. Since then, I have learned what a truly extraordinary woman she is. I am among many people who admire her, including those involved in the arts, the community and her church, her current college students, friends of the arts, and the many, many students she has worked with in her 50-year career as a teacher.

Annie was born in Japan and received there a B.S. in Literature in 1949 from Wakayama Sin-Ai Women's College. In 1963, she became a naturalized American and earned a B.S. in Art Education from Kansas State and an M.A. in Industrial Technology from Wichita State University.

Inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1994, Annie began her teaching career over 50 years ago in 1945 in Wakayama, Japan. She continues to teach today at Friends University. It is not uncommon to be with Annie and have one of her students approach her and tell her of an accomplishment, or tell her of how she has impacted their lives. This is a testimony to the kind of teacher I think she is--one that students know is interested in them beyond the school walls and the subject at hand. What makes her an extraordinary teacher is the same thing that makes her an extraordinary person - she genuinely cares about the people with whom she comes in contact.

Annie has also served in various capacities within the city and state art entities, lending her expertise and insights to, among others, the Public Art Advisory Board and the Kansas Alliance for Arts Education for the state of Kansas. Even people who have not come directly in contact with her can feel the beauty of her presence through the various works and programs in which she has been involved.

These small paragraphs do not attempt to summarize Annie's life--it is much too complex and accomplished. Those of us who know her know that she is sometimes very private about her life. She reaches out to others, but at the same time she is very introspective. I think she is a very spiritual person; she is always observing and studying human nature and the natural world and their relationship to each other.

Through her teaching, her advise, and her art, she has made sure her presence will be known for generations to come. The brick in the Plaza of Heroines ensures, in a small way, that Annie Lowrey's presence does not go unnoticed as a Heroine - a model and an inspiration to other women - a woman of strength, integrity, determination, vision and passion.

Submitted by Christina Hesse

September 5, 1998