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Luke Townsend

Visual Arts
Email:[email protected]


Based in the Flint Hills of Kansas, artist Luke Townsend works in photography with an interest in long form and alternative photographic printmaking. Utilizing written language through Calligraphy, Luke’s exploring multiple bodies of work which evolve in collaboration with various mediums and processes. Influenced by his own experience in Buddha Dharma, and motivated by the direct advice of Acharya Lama Gursam Rinpoche {to explore and photograph {create} our conscious experience in order to benefit many beings}, Luke’s work is simply of his own experience as it evolves – a visual debate – and is shared with the aim of increasing Bodhicitta, challenging learned observations, and expanding the creative potential to communicate.

Luke has multiple photographic works in the permanent collection of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, and in 2022 installed a permanent photographic mural, “2Americas – work from the civil unrest of 2020 in collaboration with artist Doug Barrett – 13′ x 32′, in the ceiling of the DOW Center for Multicultural and Community Studies in Hale Library at Kansas State University. Multiple other photographs are on display across the KSU campus in collections at the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center, Staley School of Leadership Studies, and within the Presidential residence of President Richard Linton and First Lady Sally Linton.

Expanding deeper into written language, Luke is humbled to personally study under Master Calligrapher and Dharma Artist, Tashi Mannox, and is the recipient of a full-tuition scholarship from the University of Kansas – Center for East Asian Studies to join their Tibetan Language Program, studying under Tibetan Calligrapher, Yondenzang Akyung.

He has calligraphy artworks in the collections of Tibetan monasteries in New York City and Arkansas, and within private collections spanning Kansas, Colorado, New York, and Indonesia. A freelance contributor with ZUMA Press, Luke has published work in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, ABC News, The New Territory, Wisdom Publications, Kansas Leadership Center Journal, National Geographic Your Shot, and newspapers across the globe. He serves on the board of the Friends of the Beach Museum of Art, and formerly served on Arts and Humanities Advisory Board for the City of Manhattan, KS. He is a member of the National Press Photographers Association.

Primary Program Description

Creating engaging exhibitions and programs centered around sparking creative discourse and providing educational and hands-on learning. Luke has exhibited his photographs in many galleries, typically displayed as “free prints” hanging between handmade wood hangers and believes the tactile experience of removing the barrier of protective glass during exhibition brings the viewer closer to the work, allowing for a deeper, and more rich sense of engagement.

He has given public talks and University lectures alongside presenting a digital slide show of his work, as well as participating in several artist talks at exhibiting galleries. Likewise, Luke has led photography workshops to industry professionals and amateurs, and has worked with schools and museums for programatic workshops. A wide range of programs and exhibitions can be arranged, and is dependent on each individual request and can include:

  • public talks / lectures (speaking + digital presentation)
  • academic talks / lectures (speaking + digital presentation)
  • photographic workshops (street photography, editorial portraiture, lighting, etc.) – public / academia – cyanotype workshop (adults/children/schools) – utilizing nature outside to make cyanotype pictogram prints
  • multi-artist collaboration workshop/program
Program Fee

Standard speaking fee + digital exhibition (typically 90 min. & associated with a current or past exhibition, published documentary/editorial work, or long form body of work) : $425 + travel and lodging, if applicable. Custom speaking fee + digital exhibition (requested specialized topic) is priced on an individual basis and dependent upon:

  • scope & length of the program
  • amount of advanced planning required
  • if artworks need to be created, etc. Additional fees, if applicable: – travel
  • lodging
  • cost of materials should work need to be created/framed. Workshop fees vary depending on:
  • workshop type (photographic workshops (shooting, lighting, etc), alternative printing/cyanotypes, calligraphy)
  • scope & length/number of workshops/projects
  • number of participants
  • required advanced planning, etc. Additional fees, if applicable:
  • travel
  • lodging
  • cost of materials to be used by workshop participants + materials in workshop preparation. Physical Exhibition of work priced accordingly.
Educational Activity Information

Any of the above speaking and/or workshop program types can be augmented for a wide range of ages and disciplines within the education system. Luke has worked with the faculty and public engagement lectures and both young and older students in classroom settings. Luke’s wide range of experience from moving to the Big Apple at 18 to help produce over 8 stories for National Geographic, the freelance grind with other national publications and press agencies, creating while working a full-time job, and transitioning and maintaining a business as a full-time artist and the journey from Kansas, New York City, and back to Kansas and how that has influenced my work.

He can also speak on taking a massive pivot as an artist, freeing yourself from a self pigeon-holed career, and learning to be okay with exploring new mediums of interest for the first time and how to manage self-doubt and mitigating the pressures of social media relevancy. Luke can also touch on the importance of time in how he approaches his work and the creative benefits of revisiting old work to transform it into new and revitalized projects. This can accompany a digital presentation and/or a physical showing of work.

Additional Activity Fee

Additional fees, if applicable:

  • travel
  • lodging
  • cost of materials should work need to be created/framed/presented
Community Activity Information

Any of the above speaking and/or workshop program types can be augmented for a wide range of age and disciplines within the education system. Luke has worked with the faculty and public engagement lectures as well as both young and older students in classroom settings.

Supporting Material

Community Activity Recording