Allena Brazier Named Fall 2018 Katherine Dunham Fellow

“Dreams are not just dreams–they are something you are destined to do.”–Allena Brazier
Allena Brazier
SIUE Senior & Art Major

Allena Brazier never imagined an internet search for employment in the arts would lead her to applying for and being named the recipient of an arts fellowship, but months later, she is still beaming with joy from the news of receiving the Katherine Dunham Fellowship. Named after the legendary dancer, choreographer, and social activist, Katherine Dunham, the fellowship aims to promote diversity in the arts by enabling African American students to gain real world experience by working with mentors in leadership and administrative roles.

The highly competitive fellowship is open to all undergraduate seniors, graduate level students, and recent graduates, and is awarded to those who demonstrate exceptional leadership skills. In this special moment of synergy, Allena Brazier not only fulfills a leadership role, but she follows the model of Katherine Dunham seamlessly. Both are residents of East St. Louis and are very much interwoven into the fabric of SIUE. In the late sixties, Dunham sought to combat poverty and urban unrest by creating the Performing Arts Training Center (PATC) at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville East St. Louis Center. Now, a little over fifty years later, Allena Brazier plans to launch a gallery of her own in East St. Louis, stating her goal to, “uplift the community by providing access for everyone to the arts and culture.”

SIUE’s Associate Professor of Art History, Dr. Katherine Poole-Jones, has worked closely with Brazier and is excited to have her in the department, “Allena is bright, motivated, and inquisitive [and] being awarded the Katherine Dunham Fellowship really speaks to the quality of the candidate that she is.”

A senior majoring in art at SIUE, Brazier is incredibly determined to learn exactly what she needs in order to reach her goals. In semesters past, she has worked as gallery assistant for the University’s Art & Design West Gallery. Brazier is expected to graduate in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.

Allena Brazier stands to show a quote on her shirt by Katherine Dunham that reads: “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.”

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