‘Celebrating African-American Art’ at the Johnson Center

Published 5:26 pm Friday, January 25, 2013

“Celebrating African American Art: Selections from the Paul R. Jones Collection” is on loan to the Johnson Center for the Arts from the University of Alabama and will be featured in the upper level gallery of the arts center until March 27.

“The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is managed by the department of art and art history in the University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences,” said Morgan Drinkard, Johnson Center director. “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, which is valued at $4.8 million, to the University of Alabama.

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“Paul R. Jones was known as a passionate collector who sought to collect from both well-known and lesser-known artists,” Drinkard said. “That is a quality which makes his collection distinct.”

Drinkard said the exhibit, Celebrating African American Artists: Selections from the Paul R. Jones Collection, is an incredible display of talented African American artists with more than 40 paintings, photographs, prints and pieces of sculpture.

“This exhibit, sponsored in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, allows us to invite the community to celebrate and appreciate the pieces of art created by these artists,” Drinkard said. “

“With the help of a grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the generosity of the University of Alabama, we were able to bring an incredible exhibit featuring works by acclaimed African American Artists to the Johnson Center for the Arts. As an avid collector of African American artwork Mr. Jones wanted the works to be displayed for educational and cultural enrichment. We hope that by bringing these pieces to our community, we work toward his mission for this collection. The contemporary works include pieces from Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Betty Saar and many other African American artists.”

The Johnson Center for the Arts will host a community reception in conjunction with the Troy University Leadership Conference Celebrating African American History Month from 7:30 until 9 p.m. on Friday, February 1 at the Johnson Center and the community is invited and encouraged to attend.

This exhibit will be on display until March 27. The museum hours are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The Celebrating African American Art exhibit is presented in part by the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts in collaboration with the Troy University Leadership Conference celebrating African American History Month.

Also at the Johnson Center is “From Darkness into Life: Alabama Holocaust Survivors through Photographs and Art.”

The exhibit is on loan from the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and features stories of 20 Alabama Holocaust survivors.

“The exhibit teaches the history of the Holocaust and offers a rich understanding of its impact on these individuals and their families,” Drinkard said. “The exhibit includes survivor artwork along with narratives and a 55-minute video which features the survivors and artists talking about their experiences and their artwork.