Lowell Gooch Jenkins Biography

Lowell Gooch Jenkins




African-American artist Lowell Kent "Gooch" Jenkins was born in Racine, Wisconsin on April 5, 1936. Gooch got a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin at Madison and was on the 1960 Rose Bowl team. He passed up offers from professional teams to pursue a Master's degree in art with a major in sculpture and a minor in printmaking, one of the first to be given to an African-American student at the university. He studied sculpture with Leo Steppat and Italo Scanga and printmaking with Alfred Sessler, Dean Meeker and Warrington Colescott.

After graduation Gooch worked for a while as a sculptor in Chicago. After moving to San Francisco in the early 1960's he taught art in an inner-city youth program and worked as an architectural sculptor in Berkeley. He moved to Sonoma County in 1969 and worked as a ³sculptor in residence² with WPA artist and sculptor Bernard Zakheim (1896-1985) at his Farm Arts Ranch outside Sebastopol, California.

In the 1970's Gooch returned to Wisconsin to raise a family. With the combination of his artistic and athletic talent, his physical presence and engaging personality, plus his experience working with troubled youth he was hired by the Addiction Center of Racine, Wisconsin to develop the state's first comprehensive drug abuse program for youth, based on offering artistic and athletic activities as an alternative to drug use. With the success he had training his own staff to use the methodology, he became a counselor/trainer for the Wisconsin Substance Abuse Center, a trainer for the National Drug Abuse Center and then State Substance Abuse Coordinator for the Sate of Wisconsin in Madison.

After retiring Gooch began to work as an artist again, doing a series of drawings and small paintings with the intent to slowly work to a larger format, an aim cut short with his death in Madison, Wisconsin on February 14, 2007.