William Downs

William Downs’ work combines drawing, painting and installation to process trauma, spirituality, loss and history. The artist creates universal and archetypal compositions that draw from personal human experience—ranging from the aftermath of a hurricane to the loss of a family member. Downs employs a distinctive mark to depict subjects that are crystallizations of raw, emotional and biographical material.



William Downs was born in 1974. The artist received an MFA from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland in 2003. Downs also received a BFA in Painting and Printmaking at the Atlanta College of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996.

Solo exhibitions of Downs’ work have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Downs’ work was featured in the 2021 Atlanta Biennial at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center in Georgia. The artist’s work was also exhibited at the Albany Museum in Albany, Georgia; and the African American Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Downs received a MOCA GA Working Artist Project Grant in 2019 and the Artadia Award in 2018.

Downs has taught at MICA in Baltimore, Maryland and Parsons in New York City. The artist was a 2021 Visiting Critic and Lecturer at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado.

Downs lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.