#BeLikeBonnie: 90-year-old Columbus native inspires Ohioans with quarantine art

In This Together

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Bonnie Bowen became an internet sensation after her daughter encouraged her to work on a quarantine art project.

The 90-year-old Columbus native has been sketching most of her life and entertaining friends and family with hand-drawn postcards and wine-themed calendars. Her latest project incorporates humor and good-nature to bring some levity to the current health crisis.

bonnie bowen
Bonnie Bowne paints scenes with water color. She recently depicted the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing in Ohio.

“Well of course everyone’s concerned and worried about what’s going on today. And to me, you need to look on the bright side,” said Bowen.

She works on pen and watercolor drawings from her winter home near Jupiter, Fla. and sends them to her daughter here in Columbus. The pictures show frontline workers and everyday families living in quarantine. Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio health director Dr. Amy Acton are featured in several drawings, as are Ohioans enjoying a glass of wine during their daily press conferences.

Dewine thanked her personally

The artwork, shared to a Dr. Acton Facebook fanpage, caught the attention of the governor. DeWine called Bonnie to tell her he appreciated the humor.

“He thanked me for making him look younger in the sketch and I told him I made myself look younger too,” Bonnie laughed.

Bonnie Bowen paints scenes with water color. She recently depicted the COVID-19 pandemic social distancing in Ohio.

Social media posts of the drawings are trending with the hashtag #BeLikeBonnie. Her daughter, Betsy Bowen Hampton, said most people who meet Bonnie agree with the sentiment.

“It makes me feel good that people are having fun with them. I never dreamed it would be as popular as it has been,” said Bowen. “I just hope I make people smile.”


Screen printing company Bow Wow Graphics, based in Willard, Ohio, is printing several of Bonnie’s most popular designs on T-shirts. Each sale send $5.00 to the American Red Cross. You can purchase the shirts here.

Bonnie’s family plans to print 20 of her designs on postcards, with proceeds benefiting youth crisis shelter Huckleberry House in Columbus.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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