Simmie Knox Serves as Honorary Chair of Banneker Memorial Charette as Washington Interdependence Council Commemorates Ten Year Anniversary

(Washington, DC, October 5, 2006)– As the Washington Interdependence Council (WIC) approaches the close of its Ten Year Anniversary, the non-profit civic agency will commemorate this milestone by holding a Charette, or juried contest, featuring five internationally renowned sculptors who will present their vision for the memorial to colonial American hero, Benjamin Banneker.   Internationally renowned artist, celebrated for his works as a Master Portrait Artist, Simmie Knox, is serving as Honorary Chair of this historic event.

 

The Banneker Memorial will be sited along the L’Enfant Plaza/Banneker Overlook Park promenade in southwest DC.  The Charette will take place on Thursday, October 26, 2006 from 9 to 5 at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, located along the approved site for the memorial.  The site is undergoing a $138 million renovated gateway between the Mall and the waterfront, concurrently undergoing renovation. The L’Enfant Plaza renovation was facilitated by WIC.

 

The five sculptors’ participating in the Charette are extremely talented, experienced artists who have impressive oeuvres of work, and enjoy reputations as internationally renowned sculptors.  The roster of participants are:  1) Tina Allen – A highly respected CA sculptor, most recently retained to create a head bust of Frederick Douglass,  as featured in the movie Akeelah and the Bee.  Among her other works include sculptures of Alex Haley, A. Phillip Randolph, George Washington Carver and Tupac Shukur ; 2) Bobbie Carlyle – Hails from CO and is noted for her classic style of sculptures in stone and brass, including her praised rendition of Buffalo Soldiers, Self Made Man et.al ; 3) Ed Dwight – Top among America’s premiere sculptors with over 92 national public art commissions to his credit, including Harriet Tubman, National Cathedral’s Mother of Africa Shrine, Hank Aaron, several Underground Railroad and five national memorials to Dr. M.L. King, Ed Dwight is a highly sought after artist; 4) George Nock – Former running back for the New York Jets and  Washington Redskins, Nock has carved out an impressive career as a sculptor, particularly in the bronze medium with his unique svelte style of interpretation; and 5) Ivan Schwartz – Perhaps no other artist in America has spanned the breadth and depth of various genres of sculpture more pervasively than Ivan Schwartz who has dominated the world of public commissions, and the commercial world of three dimensional art with prop sets and designs for companies like Nike, K-Mart and Sears, including prop sets for movies like Spider Man, and major public works commissions such as Rosa Parks at the National Civil Rights Museum, Benjamin Franklin, Harry Truman, Founding Fathers at Constitution Hall [42 bronze statues of the signers of the Declaration of Independence] and three multi-phase forensic portrait figures of George Washington installed at Mt. Vernon

 

“We are elated to have such an impressive pool of internationally renowned sculptors who are participating in this historic Charette to finally offer the American public a more befitting national memorial to colonial American hero, Benjamin Banneker.  Considering the role Banneker played as a trail blazing scientist, astronomer, publisher, farmer, publisher, author, Abolitionist and his most crowning achievement, serving as a member of the team of the first presidential commission charged with the awesome task of establishing the Federal City as the first capitol created by a sovereign state in modern history, he is arguably long overdue to join the ranks of the other Founding Architects, who he worked beside, in having a befitting memorial to his legacy.  Due, in large part, to his selfless contributions in playing a key role in helping to establish America as a promising new hope for true social democracy that includes all the people, especially those playing a major role in elevating its stature as a leading country, it is only right that America do the right thing by Mr. Banneker.  As he so bravely proclaimed when he penned America’s first publicly documented protest letter in 1791 to then Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, African-Americans were not [and over 200 years later, still aren’t] a part of the equation when it comes to exercising the ideals of liberty for all, as so eloquently espoused in the Declaration of Independence. However, the Washington Interdependence Council, hold fast to the aspiration and hope that America will soon come to terms with the social wrongs of its past, and present, as it  relates to social injustice, racism, and systematic exclusion.  One way to begin that process, is to acknowledge the contributions of persons of color to the growth and privileged status America holds in the world.” according to Peggy Seats, Founder/CEO of the Washington Interdependence Council. African-Americans are the only ethnicity in America without a monumental presence within the monumental core of the nation’s capitol.  The Banneker Memorial and the MLK Memorial are the only two to ever receive Congressional authorization in the history of America for placement within this highly coveted region poised to pay homage to an African-American.  Both memorials are works en progress slated for completion by 2010. 

 

The Banneker Memorial Charette is will take place on Thursday, October 26, 2006, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, WDC 20024.  The event is open to the media in the morning hours, but closed to the media and the pubic in the afternoon hours when the jurors will select the winning entry to be unveiled at the Washington Interdependence Council’s Ten Year Anniversary Gala in November.  For more information, please call 202.387.3380 or e-mail to address info@bannekermemorial.org.  The web site address for the Banneker Memorial is www.bannekermemorial.org .



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