TUSCALOOSA, Ala.— One of the world’s largest collections of 20th-century African-American Art, the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, will be on display at The University of Alabama and Stillman College in March. It will be the first UA exhibition of the collection since Jones donated it to the University in October 2008.
The exhibit at The University of Alabama will feature 100 works from more than 80 artists and will be held March 3-7 in the Sellers Auditorium of the Bryant Conference Center, 240 Bryant Drive, on the UA campus. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, to Thursday, March 5, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 6. UA will host an opening reception from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 2 in the Sellers Auditorium of the Bryant Conference Center.
The exhibit at Stillman College will be held March 6-April 6 at The Gallery in the Sheppard Library at the Jackson Annex, 3600 Stillman Boulevard, on the Stillman campus. Stillman will host an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. March 6 at The Gallery.
Both exhibits and opening receptions are free and open to the public.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Stillman College for the inaugural exhibitions of the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art,” said Dr. Bob Olin, dean of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Mr. Jones’ goals for his collection are that it be used as a teaching tool and be shared with other institutions of higher education, arts education programs, and museums. These two exhibits are the first of many that we hope to share with the public in fulfillment of that mission.”
“We are proud to be a part of hosting the Paul Jones Collection of American Art,” said Albert Moore, director of public relations at Stillman College. “We think it’s an outstanding opportunity for the whole community, through The University of Alabama and Stillman College exhibits, to open themselves to seeing this kind of art. Jones has a lot of fabulous pieces in his collection, and we hope that everyone takes an opportunity to come out and enjoy the collection.”
The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, which includes 1,700-plus pieces of art and is valued at roughly $5 million, was donated to The University of Alabama in October 2008 by Paul Raymond Jones, who is considered to be “one of the top art collectors in the country” by Art & Antiques magazine. The collection includes art in a variety of media from more than 600 artists, including works by such well-known masters as Romare Bearden, Prentice Herman (P.H.) Polk, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence and Benny Andrews.
Jones was born in 1928 to parents Ella and Will Jones, and he was raised in the Muscoda Mining Camp of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company of U.S. Steel Corp. in Bessemer, with his four sisters. He attended Alabama State University on scholarships and graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Jones distinguished himself as an executive of the Birmingham Interracial Committee of the Jefferson County Coordinating Council for Social Forces and in a 15-year career with the federal government. He worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce and Justice’s Community Relations Service, earned a national reputation for his work in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Model Cities Program, and served as deputy director of the Peace Corps in Thailand. He began collecting art, with particular emphasis on African-American artists, in the 1960s and continues to do so today from his home in Atlanta, Ga.
The College of Arts and Sciences is the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes scholarships, Goldwater scholarships and memberships on the “USA Today” Academic All-American Teams.
EDITORS: You are invited to the UA exhibit’s opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. March 2 at the Bryant Conference Center. Mr. Jones will be attending the UA opening reception. Interviews also can be arranged with Mr. Jones in Tuscaloosa from Feb. 26 to March 7 by contacting Richard LeComte.