TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The grand opening of the Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa will begin with a public reception from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.
It will showcase “When Words Fall Short,” featuring a selection of works from the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, which is managed by the department of art and art history in The University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The exhibit will run until March 7.
The gallery honors the late Paul R. Jones who, during his lifetime, amassed one of the largest collections of African American art in the world. In 2008, Jones donated 1,700 pieces of his collection, valued at $4.8 million, to UA. Jones was known as a passionate collector who sought to collect from both well-known and lesser known artists, a quality which makes his collection distinct.
The exhibition looks at Jones’ collection through a biographical lens. The title is derived from a quote by Jones about the nature of art:
“There is something invaluable about certain works of art that speaks to the very essence of an experience or feeling or acknowledgement when words fall short.”
The show builds on an exhibit produced for the Safe House Museum in Greensboro, titled “Identity.” According to student curators Mo Fiorella and Joe Parmer, both exhibits explore themes of self-discovery, self-expression and creating identity.
“Some works from ‘Identity’ have been re-envisioned in the new light of identifying who Mr. Jones was and what drove him to collect,” Fiorella and Parmer said in their curatorial statement. “‘When Words Falls Short’ strives to actualize Mr. Jones’ hopes that the Paul R. Jones Collection at The University of Alabama would exist as an educational resource for students, scholars and the public alike by portraying Mr. Jones through these works.”
Fiorella and Parmer are both graduates of New College, part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences. Fiorella is currently pursuing a graduate degree in book arts at UA, and Parmer is pursuing a graduate degree in the department of American studies.
The Paul R. Jones Gallery is located at 2308 6th St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Additionally, the gallery has extended hours 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month as part of Tuscaloosa’s Art Night.
The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, 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 Team.