SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – For 15 years, Dana King was one of the main newscasters keeping the Bay Area informed.
She left the airwaves in 2012, but in her current incarnation, she says she is still telling stories, just in a different way.
You likely remember her for her work in Bay Area news – but that’s old news.
This is Dana King today.
She has moved from an award-winning journalist to a nationally-recognized sculptor.
“I always created. I’ve always done art… I open a bag of clay and I smell it and I’m just in the zone… and it’s just a place of peace for me.”
It’s quite a contrast from her 25-year long journey in television – 15 of those years in the Bay Area.
“I do not miss working on news. I miss that adrenaline rush. I miss that excitement, but I’m so much happier and so much more at peace with myself… not living on a clock.”
When off the news set, her life was much more than a straight-laced news anchor.
King won a number of medals for rowing, used to ride motorcycles, lived on a Sausalito houseboat, and was a union rep at work.
She’s been called competitive, tough, and definitely non-traditional.
“I come by it quite naturally. My mom was her own woman. My mom was a white woman who married a Black man secretly in the 50s, then became a widow, left to raise two brown children in the 60s by herself. When she turned 50, joined the Peace Corps.”
She left TV news in 2012, and two years later, ran for Oakland City Council.
“That’s the craziest thing I have ever done – run for office. I live in East Oakland and my neighbors were getting pushed out and I ran because I wanted to advocate,” she said. “I am so glad I lost – had I won, I wouldn’t be doing my art.”
She doesn’t paint anymore, but much of her early work – like this one called “Ballot or Bullet” – had social themes.
She started taking art classes while still working in news.
It became her main passion after a decision she made, unheard of for women in news.
“It started with my hair, as silly as that sounds. When I let my hair go gray, I felt authentically in my own body for the first time in my life, and I was 50 at the time.”
“I would take courses in the morning because I worked at night, and I rushed to the studio… I’d be filthy and change my clothes… halfway through, I took a sculpture course… and that was it!”
King has a number of art installations and displays around the country and here in the Bay Area, like at Golden Gate Park.
That’s where “Monumental Reckoning” lives.
“This is the beginning of decolonizing Golden Gate Park. This is the first sculpture that isn’t Euro-centric… the first sculpture created by an African-American woman… into this space and inhabit it as well with their cultural art.”
The theme of her sculpture work is “Black Bodies in Bronze,” including the statue of a civic leader in Berkeley, and an installation at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Alabama.
One of her latest commissions is a bust of the leader of the Black Panther Party, Huey Newton.
It is part of Oakland’s first permanent public artwork honoring the Panthers.
“I told stories for a living right, they were on video or digital… and if you miss them, they’re gone for the most part.”
“The bronze pieces are permanent, so the stories of African-American descendants that these pieces represent will last and be told as long as the bronze lasts and that could be thousands of years,” she said. “At this point in my life, and to be able to do that in my own studio, is a blessing.”
“Monumental Reckoning” will be set up at Golden Gate Park for another year and a half.