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The "beginning" of my artistic practice is rooted in my family lineage and my hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois, where I draw inspiration from the social and physical landscapes that shape my and the cities' identity. Despite its history marked by race-based massacres, segregation, and industrial rise and decline, East St. Louis has fostered a resilient community and vibrant culture. I channel these complex layers into my art, using installations, sculpture, sound, and photography to create environments that explore and reveal the essence of a place.

Central to my work is the exploration of urban environments, particularly cityscapes and edgelands where urban meets rural. In cityscapes, I focus on materials like asphalt and the structural designs that define urban spaces. I believe that streets hold memories—stories both told and forgotten—which I weave into my art. Manipulating asphalt, a material synonymous with paved urban roads, allows me to construct new narratives and forms. For instance, in "Tha Block is Hot," a sound installation, I erected five six-foot-tall pillars cloaked in asphalt. Embedded within them are sounds collected over three years: beauty shop chatter, screeching trains, police sirens, and intimate moments like my father's laughter and my mother reading poetry, punctuated by a whisper urging everyone to "be safe." Through these everyday sounds and mystical structures, I engage in storytelling that transcends the hustle of city life.

In contrast, my focus on edgelands documents spaces where urban and rural landscapes converge. Through my "Building Abandonment Place Marker Series," I photograph hand-built fluorescent orange garden boxes placed strategically in these liminal zones. These markers symbolize growth, safety, and visibility amidst perceptions of neglect, challenging viewers to reconsider these transitional spaces categorized by their past, present, and potential futures.

I am intrigued by the interplay between cityscape culture and natural landscapes, exploring their coexistence and the possibilities they offer for creative expression. By showcasing these dualities, I strive to uncover new perspectives and generate moments of discovery through my art. Each structure, object, and interactive installation I create becomes a conduit for exploring the untold stories and hidden narratives embedded within East St. Louis and beyond.

Through my art, I aim to challenge the status quo of urban environments, celebrating their resilience and complexities while honoring the memory, play, and familial ties that define my personal and cultural identity. As I grow and change so follows the art, I also take interest in faith-based content/creativity (Founder of Visuals of Faith) and the intriguing nuances of design, line, color, and sound.

Beyond my artistic endeavors, I engage in administrative, consulting, and curatorial roles. My focus lies in fostering trust among collaborators, enhancing communication and organizational effectiveness, and nurturing respectful relationships within artistic communities and beyond. I've worked with/collaborated with diverse entities including student artists, seasoned professionals, non-profit organizations, community partnerships, universities, and private art collections.


Allena Marie Brazier is an Artist from East St. Louis, IL. She has earned her Master of Fine Arts Degree from Washington University in St. Louis Missouri and her Bachelor of Fine Arts minor in Art History from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Illinois. 


Throughout her academic journey, Allena exemplified the spirit of East St. Louis's resilience and excellence. She has been recognized for her artistic achievements and community contributions, including serving as the Katherine Dunham Fellow with the St. Louis Arts and Education Council in 2018 and receiving First Place Luis Jimenez Award for her outdoor sculpture "Katherine Dunham: Perpetual Motion" at the SIUE Sculpture on Campus event in 2019. 2021 Being nominated and selected for the 2021 International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement Award for her Sculpture Passionate Desires. Her academic prowess was further acknowledged with the Elevate East St. Louis Scholarship from the Department of Art and Design in Spring 2020.


In addition, Allena has exhibited her sculptures and 2D works throughout the Midwest region at places such as The Luminary in St. Louis MO., Thomas Gallery-Olin Library St. Louis MO., and The Valade Family Gallery Detroit, Mi. 


In 2022, Allena was appointed as the inaugural Curator in Residence at Washington University's Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. Her curatorship included notable exhibitions such as "Belonging: Cross River Art Exhibition (BCRAE)," "In-Between Spaces Photography Exhibition," and "Sending Love and Light" at UCity TechArtista Space. Her curatorial leadership extended to exhibitions at Maryville University and the University of Missouri in subsequent years. As graduate of 2023 Allena had the honor and blessing to give the Commencement Speech to her class Washington University Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts along with and speaker Nema and keynote speaker Min Jung Kim.

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2023 Washington University Sam Fox Commencement Speech. Graduate Speaker

Allena Brazier

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