Gifted Internationally Renown Sculptor, Tina Allen, Artist of Record for the Benjamin Banneker Commemorative Effort, Succumbs to Illness.

Washington, DC, September 18, 2008 – America has lost one of its most celebrated, internationally acclaimed, talents in the world of commemorative art. Well loved and highly respected artist, Ms. Tina Allen, known for her powerful bronze public commemorative pieces, died of complications associated with a heart attack on Tuesday morning, Sept. 9.  Ms. Allen was the Artist of Record for the Banneker Memorial in the nation’s capital.  It is one of only two memorials ever authorized to an African-American, for placement within the capital’s monumental core, in the history of America.  The other effort, the MLK Memorial, is now in its 22nd year.  The Banneker Memorial is in its 12th year of commemorative matriculation.


The Washington Interdependence Council first unveiled the Banneker Memorial prototype to the public in February, 2008 at the National Archives Museum in the nation’s capital.  The image was the second version of the commemorative piece produced by Ms. Allen.  In a Sneak Preview unveiling, she shared the first rendering with friends and colleagues in September, 2007. The bronze maquette was also well received and lauded by attendees at the National Archives as its premiere celebratory program for Black History Month; and recently in June at a second unveiling hosted by Charles Dutton and John Sayles, a collaborative Creative Coalition event.  


Master Portrait Artist, Simmie Knox, the first African-American commissioned to create a presidential portrait for President Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Chair of the Banneker Memorial Charette held in 2006, remembers Tina noting, “She was a lady committed to excellence, and she demonstrated that in the way she carried herself and the works that she produced.”


Tina’s mantra when it came to her work in capturing for time immemorial the historic legacy of notable figures of national and international acclaim was, “Our children must know that greatness comes from people who look like them.”  She was amongst the most sought out artists in the world for bronze commissions to immortalize heroes and sheroes of epic stature.  Iconic historic figures such as:  Dr. George Washington Carver; Alex Haley; Frederick Douglass; Sojourner Truth; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Ron Brown; Tupac Shakur; Sammy Davis Jr.; Caesar Chevez; Marcus Garvey; Dr. Ralphe Bunch; Dr. Betty Shabazz; and Benjamin Banneker, among others.


“Although I was not a voting member of the Charette which selected Ms. Allen as the Artist of Record for the Banneker Memorial commission, we immediately realized that we both shared philosophical positions when it came to the importance of a dignified symbolic presence paying homage to the contributions of African-Americans.  She and I were in total agreement on the power and need for positive images to be created for our children,” commented Peggy Seats, Founder/CEO of the Washington Interdependence Council, administrators of the Banneker Memorial.   “The world will long remember the artistic legacy of Tina Allen.” 


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