The Arts Council Gallery

August and September

Joe A. MacGown: “Explorations of Alternate Realities”
Opening on First Friday, August 4, from 5-7 p.m.
Closes September 14, 2023

L: “Organic Cosmic Lock” and R: “Spawn of Cthulhu”

The Arts Council of Tuscaloosa will host an exhibit by Mississippi artist Joe MacGown in The Arts Council Gallery at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Titled “Explorations of Alternate Realities,” the display will be available for viewing August 4 – September 14, 2023. The exhibit will open during the First Friday Art Walk on August 4 at 5 p.m. with the artist present with commentary about the exhibit. The display will be comprised of works in ink in both black & white and color that will be for sale. 

Joe A. MacGown is a Mississippi artist and naturalist who has been creating art for 50 plus years. He is known for his scientific illustrations and detailed chaotic assemblages of strange, mutated creatures, crowded surreal landscapes and mandala-like designs. Using imaginative imagery and random patterns, he produces detailed drawings and mixed media paintings by simply allowing ideas to flow out of his head using a method he describes as “Subconscious Meandering.” In addition to being an artist, MacGown worked as a research technician/scientific illustrator especially focused on ant research at the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University from 1988 until he retired in 2020. He later rejoined the museum on a part time basis to continue research on native and exotic ants. His scientific background has served as great inspiration for his surreal pieces of art.

MacGown’s works have been featured in books, magazines and other media and in numerous local and regional exhibitions as well international group shows in Dallas, TX; Chicago, IL; Memphis, Tenn.; San Francisco, CA; Washington D.C.; Australia; Colombia; Toronto, Canada; Great Britain; the Philippines; Moscow & St. Petersburg, Russia; Belgrade, Serbia; the Netherlands; Nepal; various venues in France; Dresden, Germany; Venice, Italy; Portugal; and other regions.

Over the last few years the artist and his son, Joseph A. MacGown, have been creating an art compound called MacGown Art Retreat and Studio (MARS) on their property in the Sessums community, located 10 miles from the Mississippi State campus. A highlight of this endeavor is the MacGown Art “Artist-in-Residence” program, which pays a stipend for 2 to 4 visiting artists per year with funding from a local philanthropic arts organization called the Del Rendon Foundation. Artists stay in their guest cabin for 2 to 4 weeks while creating art and collaborating with the hosts in various ways.

Visit the artist’s site at and his social media pages at and

The Arts Council Gallery is available to artists by invitation only. The Arts Council Gallery located in the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center is one of two galleries managed by The Arts Council. Meeting the demand for additional exhibit space in Tuscaloosa, the gallery hosts a variety of exhibits by artists from around Alabama and the Southeast as well as artists from our own community. Exhibits in The Arts Council Gallery at the CAC and the Junior League Gallery located in the Bama Theatre, are displayed on a rotating basis and are usually booked several months in advance.

Gallery Layout & Dimensions

Gallery Hours:
Weekdays from 9-4 p.m.

Open to artists by invitation only.