Master Sculptor, Donald Brown

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When one walks into Carver Bank, one immediately gets a feeling that this is not an ordinary bank. Could this be as a result of the presence of “The Renaissance Man� Donald Brown as he displays his artistic skills? Brown is the creative director for Gemini Entertainment Group and takes time out to share his skills with schools, universities and the general public.

Unlike most banks with long lines of anxious and inpatient customers, recently, patrons of Carver Bank had something to raise their spirits as they waited in line. Brown was in the bank, and they waved at this renowned sculptor, admiring the progress on the relief portrait bust of renowned actress Cicely Tyson that he was working on. It was a unique experience to see a master craftsman rendering such a lifelike image of Tyson.

Former Carver manager Cheryl Glover, now relocated to Brooklyn, invited Brown during Black History Month to create a work of art into the public space, so that the customers could see an African artist at work creating a piece of sculptured art that is intrinsically relevant to the history of Africa, Carol Adams, Assistant Branch Manager, informed this reviewer.

Brown is certainly one of many young artists in Harlem who represent the renewed artistic excitement that is evident in the 2nd Harlem renaissance. He follows the sculpture and visual artistic drumbeat of the likes of elders such as Harlem’s Weusi artists and NCA members, Ademola Oluebefola, Otto Neal, Ed Sherman, the late Abdul Rahman, James Denmark, Tina Allan, who happens to use the same bronze foundry in New York that Brown uses, and painters Leroy Campbell, and Willie Tolbert to name a few. 

In 1995, Brown created the portrait bust of Larry Leon Hamlin, artistic director and founder of the National Black Theater Festival.

He was nominated in 200 to receive the Daimon Prize in 2001 and awarded for monumental achievement of the human spirit and was ceremoniously appointed as “His Serene Highness The First Avatar of the Bermuda Covenant.�
In 2000, he designed and created the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund (TMSF) their first official annual awards, which will be presented each year to select honorees.

He is the founder and Chairman of TAOS (The Art Of Success), WAA (The World Arts Alliance) and Paradigm Art New York, Inc. Collectively they provide a sound platform for the promotion of his ministry of empowerment through art, to support humanitarian and philanthropic causes and enable the general public who become members of his company to have a realistic opportunity to secure their place in history through his Millennium Monument Project.

What makes Brown so unique is that he is self-taught and always chose to ignore those who tried to discourage him. Now the international demand for his works has excelled even his expectations. Donald Brown was born and raised in England. By the age of 14, he drew national television and media attention for his sculptures.   

Brown later graduated with a BA Honors Degree in Fine Arts Sculpture in 1988 from Wolver Hampton University in England.

He has been featured in numerous publications including Contemporary Black Biography, Essence, Upscale, TMSF Scholar, The New York Daily New, Winston Salem Chronicle, New York Beacon, The Gazette Virginian, Danville Register & Bee, The News and Record. South Boston/Haifax County and he graces the front covers of African Eye and Black Masks Magazine.

Recipients of his works, courtesy of the Ted Turner Trumpet Awards, includes: Colin Powell, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight, Kenneth ‘Baby face’ Edmonds, Coach Eddie Robinson, Jackie Joyner Kersee, John ‘Buck’ O’Neil, Smokey Robinson, Jessye Norman, Deloris Jordan, mother of Michael Jordan, Barbara Sinatra, Bryant Gumbel, Kweisi Mfume and Debbie Allen.

Establishments such as Morehouse College, Bennedict College, Life University, The Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C., The NAACP and the ANC in South Africa, own a Donald Brown Sculpture. In recognition of his exceptional artistic achievements, the largest African American owned art gallery in the United states will be opened and named “The Donald Brown International Art Gallery.�

Within the next two years, seven replicas of Brown’s unprecedented 15th bronze Millennium will be placed in seven countries around the world in preparation for the largest simultaneous media unveiling ceremony in history.

In 2005, Brown was a guest along with the former President of the UN, Jean Ping who participated in the tribute to Cicely Tyson by placing a piece of clay on Brown’s most recent project. Tyson is an icon in film and one of Harlem’s own.

The Emmy Award winning and Academy Award nominee Tyson was born on December 19, 1933 in New York City. She was raised in Harlem by her Caribbean-born parents. In 1972, she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Sounder. In 1974 she won two Emmy awards for the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and became a star. Tyson is cofounder of the Dance Theater of Harlem and has a school named after her, the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, in New Jersey. She was married to the late jazz trumpeter Miles Davis from 1981 to 1988.  

Like the African tradition of call and response that is so prevalent in most performances of drumming, singing and dancing that takes place in the indigenous African communities, Brown has incorporated a unique opportunity for individuals to respond to his process of sculptured work of Tyson by taking a small piece of clay and pressing it on the work in progress. This was done at the Carver Bank and the reception held at the Magic Johnson Theatre in Harlem after the Friends of Harlem Dowling third annual All Star Gala awards ceremony held at the Apollo Theater April 21, 2005. 
The Harlem Dowling West Side Center for Children and Family Services was founded in 1836. Brown was one of the sponsors and feels that supporting their cause of helping children in foster care, was of the utmost importance.

With NBC’s Al Roker as Honorary Chair and Tommy Davidson as Master of Ceremonies, Tyson was given the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award called “Ayann� in celebration of the African woman.

The award was created by Brown. As Fox 5’s Cheryl Washington and Brown presented the award to Tyson she was overcome with emotion. As she gave thanks and acknowledgement for the award, Brown then unveiled the sculpture of her that was near completion.

Now, as we live in a time of a universal spiritual war, we have artistic warriors such as Brown who through their artistic expression are fighters for the liberation and dignity of all people.

For More Information please visit or call 201-320-7396

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