Dave Bown grew up in upstate New York. Bown received a congressional nomination to the United States Military Academy at West Point by a New York State Congressman. However, Bown never matriculated, and took a three year hiatus from formal academics to reside predominantly in Cali and Medellin, Colombia.
After Bown conducted research in East Africa, Europe and Poland, he earned a bachelor's degree in sculpture from Brigham Young University in 2003. Bown was one of the recipients of the 2003 Oscarson Discovery Grants. Shortly after graduation, Bown founded and continues to direct Dave Bown Projects. The initiatives of the privately held U.S. company focus on advancing the field of contemporary art, by engaging in scholarly research and philanthropy (e.g., making grants in the field of visual arts).
Bown was a resident artist at Europos Parkas in Vilnius, Lithuania and has exhibited his work in museums and galleries worldwide including Fornos Center for Digital Culture in Athens, Guild Hall Museum in East Hampton, Nomad Art Gallery in Mongolia, School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Second Street Gallery in Virginia, The Holter Museum of Art in Montana, and The Stone Town Cultural Center in Zanzibar.