Bellingham sculptor Francie Allen grew up in a rural New Hampshire village that was a focal point for young well-educated urban families who, after World War II, were inspired to begin a new life. Their pioneering spirit and vibrant sense of community deeply shaped her values. She was an activist in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, participating in various protests, including marching with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Her involvement with the social movements of the 60’s prompted in her a conflict between being an activist and being an artist. The resolution she found was to allow her creative output to include community collaboration.
Francie is an inspired teacher for all ages, with experience teaching elementary school children, public school teachers, and university students. She advanced Howard Gardener’s theories of Multiple Intelligences in the Vashon Island School District, coaching teachers to develop art curricula for visual thinking skills. She taught at colleges and universities throughout Puget Sound and in the San Francisco Bay Area until she retired from teaching in 2008.
Allen moved from New England to Seattle in the early 70’s. Although a graduate sculpture student in the UW School of Art, she found her greatest inspiration was studying dance with Joan Skinner, renowned head of the Dance Department. The spatial understanding, improvisational skills and body awareness she acquired under the mentorship of Joan Skinner are what inform her art today.
During the 1990’s Francie operated a production studio where she designed and fabricated cast concrete garden sculptures. With three artist employees, she made and sold 1000 pieces a year. Her water bowls and fountains can be found in gardens all over the Pacific Northwest.
Tired from her overly successful commercial sculpture business, Allen chose in 2003 to close her studio and move to California – to start over as an artist. She was selected to be an artist-in-residence for the city of Palo Alto, where she began her current body of work in wire and paper. In 2009, she relocated to Bellingham, WA.