Cover photo for Jane Cowling Otten's Obituary
Jane Cowling Otten Profile Photo
Jane

Jane Cowling Otten

d. January 1, 2022

Jane Cowling Otten, 83, of Bloomington, Indiana. Jane was born and reared in the farming community of Albion, Illinois. She earned her BA from the University of Illinois in 1960. After a short stint as an elementary school art teacher after college, Jane dedicated herself fully to raising her two sons. When her sons approached their teens, Jane purchased Bloomington's beloved art supply store, Pygmalion's. Jane and her husband, Werner Otten, owned and operated the store for 35 years. Not only an artist, but also an astute business woman, Jane made sure that Pyg's was a vital supplier for the Indiana University School of Art. By only stocking the highest quality materials, offering engaging in-store art classes, and providing thoughtful and personalized service to every customer who stopped in, she outlasted two chain store competitors during her tenure as owner. Many students, artists, and community members will remember Jane's wonderful store, the beautiful art supplies she sold, and the array of resident store cats found lounging in a sunny window or greeting visitors as they entered the store. Jane was an active member of the Friends of Art in Bloomington, serving as Board Member, as Chair of the Bookshop Committee, and finally as President. In 2015, she was awarded the Friends of Art Lifetime Achievement Award for her long standing dedication to its success. Jane was a prolific artist throughout her lifetime, a master of both acrylic and watercolor painting, and most recently, intricate whimsical paper collage and 3D pop-up art. A natural teacher who loved children, in her later years Jane took great pleasure in tutoring young art students in her home. Jane loved to travel. Her passion for the mountains started as a teenager when she worked summers in Colorado resort towns near Rocky Mountain National Park. Later, and for many years, she vacationed in this same area with her young family, instilling in her two young boys her love of the mountains. A favorite destination in later years was the beautiful mountain town of Grainau, near Garmish Partenkirchen in the Wetterstein Alps of Germany, where she traveled many times with family and friends. In all of her travels, Jane chronicled what she saw in paintings, rather than photographs. She leaves behind dozens of painted journals capturing her vision of the stunning mountain ranges, as well as the dazzling sunsets of the Florida Gulf, another favorite destination. Jane will be remembered for her generosity of spirit and upbeat personality. Everyone who knew her says that she never had a bad word to say about anyone. She was filled with compassion for people as well as animals, especially cats and dogs. She made anyone who spent time with her feel special. She will be deeply missed. In addition to Werner Otten, her beloved husband of 42 years, Jane leaves her son Nathan Potter and his wife Karen Wysopal, her son Daniel Potter, nieces Sarah Gates, Lisa Tschirhart, Michelle Kopfer Roberts, Anne Apperson, cousin Nancy Kao Rhiannon, her border collie, Bella, and tabby cat, Milly.
A celebration of life is planned for spring 2022. Details to follow. Donations in her memory can be made to: - Bloomington Animal Care and Control, 3410 S. Walnut St., Bloomington, IN 47401 - Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 1133 E. Seventh Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-750

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