Sara Bowen: The Witch Doctor’s Chapel

January 21 - June 25, 2022

The Witch Doctor’s Chapel was created by artist Sara Bowen to reconcile and honor complicated feelings about her late mother and the traumas of her Southern childhood. It’s a space for healing, holding conflicting truths in one space, and ultimately celebrating resilience and broken parts. She began this installation with the goal of creating a magical space in the vein of the medieval chapels she studied as an art history student. As she mixed materials like silk and porcelain with light, the feeling persisted that she needed something more to create the magic she was seeking. Meanwhile, Bowen was writing poems to process her childhood, grief, and difficult relationship with her mother, and along the way the poems and installation merged. 

Sara Bowen is a potter from South Alabama, creating functional pots inspired by her natural surroundings, favorite flora, and the feminine form. Her ceramic installation and gallery work focuses on creating other-worldly spaces, often featuring light, fiber, and poetry. Bowen’s recent installation, “The Witch Doctor’s Chapel,” debuted along with her first book of poetry, “The Witch Doctor’s Hymnal,” both of which focus on healing and reconciling uncomfortable truths and childhood trauma. Find her work and see her process online at and on Instagram and Facebook (@sarabowenpottery).


We called Momma the Witch Doctor

and joked that she was crazy, with her apple cidah vinegah,

and endless hair treatments and seemingly made-up concoctions,

her more-than-occasional explosions.

I grew up hearing,

  “In the south, we keep our crazy out on the front porch.”

Now I realize that was because crazy wasn’t allowed inside.

I grew up assuming the jokes about crazy were 


but Momma had a lot of crazy she didn’t talk about.

Couldn’t talk about,

because despite the fun kinda crazy she played and put on,

she saw herself as a proper southern lady,

who kept the real crazy inside,

like a splinter stuck way deep under thick calloused skin. She

needed her icthymol to help draw it back out,

that old-timey, tar-like salve she was always so quick to slather

over anything that oozed, infected.

It’s a little late for ichthymol now, but,

I built us a chapel of potions and poisons, salves and psalms,

as a reminder that the crazy does belong out front,

but not as a joke.

It sits enshrined as a genuine attempt at healing,

as a reminder to everyone:


me too.

This helped.

Come sit.

— Sara Bowen

Featured Above: Photos courtesy of the artist

Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.

Terms and Conditions

The Wiregrass Museum of Art reserves the right to photograph and reproduce chosen works publication, publicity, and educational purposes. Participation in this exhibition shall be an agreement on the part of the artist to these conditions. The museum reserves the right to exclude works submitted without appropriate preparation (documentation, mounting hardware, suitable frame/mat, etc.), or which are damaged or incomplete. The museum is not responsible for the safekeeping of any works left in its care ninety (90) days after the close of the exhibition.

Oops! We could not locate your form.

Mask Policy

WMA asks that all campers ages 5 and up wear a mask during their museum visit, including classes and camps. If you don’t have a mask, we can provide one for you. Exceptions can be made for those with documented respiratory or sensory issues. We thank you for protecting your fellow visitors and our staff!

Wishlist 0
Continue Shopping