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Ellington Alumnus – Black Artist Raised In DC Soon Makes History For Creating US Capitol Sculpture

WASHINGTON (7News) — “I remember one day looking down East Capitol and it was a clear day and seeing the dome of the U.S. Capitol,” recalled sculptor Littleton Alston.

The revered artist has come a long way since his early days when he lived in a house on 14th and F Streets in Northeast D.C.

Alston grew up poor in a powerful city where commanding structures beckoned him.

“I said to my brother, ‘Let’s go there’ and we got up the nerve and got our little bikes,” Alston said.

That visit to the Capitol was a pivotal moment for a student who would become part of the first class to graduate from Duke Ellington School of the Arts in 1977.

“Duke Ellington, it really changed me. It took the street out of me,” Alston told 7News.

He went on to graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1981 and earned a Master of Fine Arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture in Baltimore in 1983.

Littleton Alston is the first African-American artist to create a work to be displayed in the National Statuary Hall Collection. (courtesy: Alston)

As a child, Alston dreamed of creating imposing statues like the ones that stand inside National Statuary Hall; and now, he’s done exactly that.

In 2020, Alston began working on a 7-foot bronze statue of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather.

Scholar Andrew Jewell of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln described her as a distinctive voice in cultural history.... (continued)


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