Shayla Hart, graduate assistant, Office of University Communications
Vendors, Port au Prince, Haiti,” 1978; Courtesy
of the Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust
three-month traveling exhibition featuring one of Howard’s
artistic legends opened last month at the National Museum
of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. “Loïs
Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” is
one of the first retrospectives paying homage to Jones’
legacy as an artist, designer and Howard professor.
More than 70 paintings, textiles and sketches from the
pioneering artist’s 75-year career are included
in the exhibit.
Mailou Jones created artists that would never have done
what they did without her instruction," says Bullock.
"The retrospective highlights the extensive work
that she did. It honors her and what she did many, many
Hayes-Benjamin, Ph.D., associate dean of the Division
of Fine Arts, has long been inspired by Jones’
contribution to the arts. “[The retrospective
provides] a look over Jones’ life, career
and early years as a student, then as a teacher,
artist and mentor,” says Hayes-Benjamin.
was a professor of design and watercolor painting
at Howard from 1930 until her retirement in 1977.
During her tenure at Howard, she inspired hundreds
of students that have gone on to become influential
artists themselves, including professor Starmanda
Bullock, Ph.D., the former chair of the Department
influence is still living and breathing through
the students she has taught who have gone on to
continue the legacy.”
“The exhibition had to come here,” says Deborah
Gaston, director of education at NMWA. “Jones’
influence is still living and breathing through the students
she has taught who have gone on to continue the legacy.”
artistic foundation began at Boston’s School of
the Museum of Fine Arts, where she was indoctrinated into
the Impressionist Style. In 1937, she went on sabbatical
from Howard and traveled to
During this time, her work consisted of muted silver,
blue and gray tones. She later traveled to Haiti and
Africa, places that define and influence the style for
which she is most recognized: vibrant colors.
The current exhibit showcases work influenced by both
During Homecoming weekend, the NMWA hosted a special
weekend to pay tribute to Jones, with complimentary
admission offered to Howard faculty, staff, students
people may have heard of her. Now they can be introduced,
reunited and instructed by her art,” says Hayes-Benjamin. “ The retrospective reestablishes her presence for over
50 years, and allows former students, associates and
friends to have a time to revisit with her. Jones has
made a valuable contribution to American history.”
exhibit was developed by the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte,
N.C., and is a collaboration between the Loïs Mailou
Jones Pierre-Noël Trust and the International Arts
& Artists. The retrospective will be at the National
Museum of Women in the Arts until January 9, 2011.
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