Montana State University

Exhibit of largest collection of African-American art prompts local activities

February 24, 2006 -- from MSU News Service

Jacob Lawrence's "The Library" will be one of 56 pieces from the Paul R. Jones Collection on display at the Museum of the Rockies March 4-May 14. The pieces, which are part from the world's largest collection of African-American art, are launching a variety of campus and community educational programs throughout the spring.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman - Paul R. Jones, who is said to have collected the world's oldest, largest and most complete collection of African-American art, will lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, at the Museum of the Rockies in connection with the opening of the Paul R. Jones exhibit at the museum.

Jones' lecture on collecting minority art is free and open to the public and will kick off several months of educational and cultural presentations linking the museum, Montana State University and the Bozeman community.

The museum's exhibit of 56 pieces from the "Paul R. Jones Collection: A Century of African American Art" opens to the public on Saturday, March 4, and will be on display through May 14.

The events surrounding the Paul R. Jones exhibit represent the first large-scale, coordinated effort to integrate the museum's resources with campus curriculum, according to Sara Jayne Steen, dean of MSU's College of Letters and Science. The events are the result of a partnership that includes the University of Delaware, the Museum of the Rockies, MSU's College of Arts and Architecture and College of Letters and Science, and the Bozeman Public Schools.

"The exhibit provides both students and the Bozeman community with access to an exceptionally high-quality collection of art as well as the opportunity to share diverse cultural experiences," Steen said. "The collaboration helps the university enrich educational opportunities by increasing the interdisciplinary nature of various curricula, providing hands-on experiences, and broadening students' exposure to national cultural history."

Steen was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Montana. She became friends with Jones and Amalia Amaki, curator of the exhibit, during a year she spent as an American Council on Education Fellow at the University of Delaware. This will be the first time the exhibit has traveled to the Rocky Mountain West.

Several MSU College of Letters and Science, College of Arts and Architecture and University Studies classes will incorporate the exhibit into courses. Teachers in local schools are also planning to use the exhibit in their classrooms.

Other activities and events linked to the exhibit include a public gallery talk by Amaki to be scheduled late in March. Spencer Crew, director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will conduct a symposium for local K-12 teachers.

The Museum of the Rockies will exhibit 56 pieces drawn from the Paul R. Jones Collection, which consists of more than 1,500 pieces including paintings, drawings, photographs and three-dimensional works by noted artists such as Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Elizabeth Catlett, and Jacob Lawrence. The collection, which was given to the University of Delaware in 2001, is housed on the Newark, Delaware campus in Mechanical Hall.

Jones, a native of Alabama, attended Alabama State University and Howard University, but was denied admission to the University of Alabama Law School under the restrictive Jim Crow laws. After college, he rose to important positions in the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service, helping ease tensions during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. He earned a national reputation for his work in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Model Cities Program and served as a deputy director of the Peace Corps in Thailand.

For more information about the Jones Collection exhibit at the Museum of the Rockies, go to the museum's Web page:

Contact: Sarah Alexander, L&S, (406) 994-7805 and Jamie Cornish, Museum of the Rockies, (406) 994-2652