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Gifted artist and longtime Citrus Heights resident dies at 86

Ann Ragland Bowns
Ann Ragland Bowns shown painting in a photo from High Hand Art Gallery. // Image courtesy, Betsy Bowns

By Mike Hazlip–
Longtime Citrus Heights resident Ann Ragland Bowns, known for her creativity and dedication to art education, passed away on April 17. She was 86.

Bowns’ granddaughter, Betsy Bowns, described her grandmother as a talented artist and a “force of nature.”  

“Anyone who knew her, could tell you she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about her, in the best way,” she wrote in a post on social media last month. “She painted, and sculpted, and most importantly, she shared her gift with others.”

Betsy said her grandmother raised three boys on her own: her father and his two brothers. One of the boys died unexpectedly, according to a news clipping from 2002. Bowns said her grandmother never really recovered from the tragic event.

“I miss her every day,” Betsy said about her “GramAnn.” “It’s been really hard, but her art, and the things written about her, will keep her legacy alive.” 

Ann Bowns was an active member of the Sacramento Fine Arts Center, and exhibited her silk painting, known as batik, at a number of local galleries. Although her work was well-known, Ann was not content to rest on her laurels.

“Too many artists and myself included from (time) to time, settle for the safe and familiar in putting on a show,” Ann wrote in an 2018 blog post on her website, “I have not time for that nonsense so will [sic] show some older work to establish familiarity but then have a few new ideas to show I can still do that.”

A story in the Sacramento Bee from 2016 describes a regional tour of Bowns’ biblical murals. The murals were commissioned in 1983 for the chapel at McCellan Air Force, and remained there until the Base closure in 2001.

Citrus Heights Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said she remembered Ann as a gifted artist whose home on Community Drive “reflected her eclectic style.” Bruins said she also displayed many of Ann’s paintings on the walls of the local Chamber of Commerce, when its offices were on Fountain Square Drive.

A memorial for close family and friends is scheduled for July 25, according to an announcement on social media. A separate event will be planned for coworkers and friends.  

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