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Mind’s Eye Sketchbook: Celebrating 50 years of art and observation by John Owen

On November 18th, we celebrated long-time friend of the Department, John Owen. John – artist, urban designer, architect, planner, and storyteller – is Partner Emeritus at MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design. As a keen observer of built and natural environments, John has spent his career creating transformative urban spaces that foster healthy people and communities. Beginning with his UW thesis analyzing the evolution of Seattle’s popular housing types, John has been a leader in Pacific Northwest urban design for nearly 50 years. His sketches and renderings span the breadth of city, architecture, and natural systems observation as well as cultural critiques and celebrations over decades. This exhibit offered a rare opportunity to see John’s process and progress behind the scenes.

He dedicated the show to the Equity Fund and the students it has and will support.


As urban planners, designers, leaders, and innovators, we are working to change the culture and face of the planning profession so that who we are reflects those we serve. Our vision is a world in which all people are empowered with the ability to make decisions about their communities, and where all communities are fully engaged in the vital task of shaping our collective future.

Each year, we graduate a new generation of passionate professionals ready to contribute to the change we seek. Our students study urban planning because they believe in the need for an equitable, just future and they know that planners have the power to transform the world for the better.

Your donation helps us to recruit and support the studies of students who have deep experience with diversity. With your help, we can prepare the next generation of professionals to lead our communities, striving for a more vibrant, inclusive, and equitable society.