Oct. 8, 2002--The Brandywine Workshop, an organization that champions cultural diversity in the visual arts, presented University of Delaware benefactor Paul R. Jones a James Van Der Zee Award for lifetime contributions to the arts during its gala 30th anniversary celebration on Saturday night, Oct. 5, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.
|Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker (left) introduced Jones, praising his work in collecting and preserving the art of African Americans as a legacy for eternity.
In addition to the coveted award, Brandywine Workshop President Allan L. Edmunds announced that the organization would donate from its collection fine art prints and other art-related materials valued at $350,000 to the Paul R. Jones Collection to further its mission and enhance its unique partnership with the University of Delaware.
Jones was one of three people honored with James Van Der Zee Awards during the ceremony, joining painter, printmaker and textile artist Emma Amos and photographer, art historian and curator Deborah Willis-Kennedy.
In February 2001, Jones announced that he would donate his collection, now numbering more than 1,500 works by African American artists, to UD, which is currently in the midst of a $4.6 million restoration of historic Mechanical Hall on the campus in Newark to house the collection.
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker introduced Jones, praising his work in collecting and preserving the art of African Americans as a legacy for eternity.
Baker said that it was extraordinary that someone could gift such an enormous collection, one considered the largest and most complete of its kind in the world, after pouring so much of their lifes energy into its assemblage. Paul Jones has never given up on the idea of exposing the world to all these great artists, he said, adding that Jones had presented those works to a great university.
|Paul R. Jones has donated his art collection, numbering more than 1,500 works by African-American artists, to UD, which is currently in the midst of a $4.6 million restoration of historic Mechanical Hall on the campus in Newark to house the collection.
In accepting the award, Jones thanked the Brandywine Workshop for its efforts in preserving the culture and providing opportunities for artists, collectors and lovers of art.
He said the reason he was standing on the stage was because he came to a point in his life when he had to make a very important but difficult decision. I knew I could sell the collection at its appreciated price, and get myself a chauffeur, a cook, a maid, and travel the world, Jones said, laughing. But, I realized I wanted to do something with my collection that would have a lasting impact, both in my lifetime and beyond.
Jones chose to donate the collection to the University of Delaware because of the institutions prominent programs in art, art history, art conservation, black American studies and museum studies, as well as for its leading-edge technologies.
Jones said he had an agenda in mind when he made the donation, noting that he has lobbied for diversity in the UD community and pushed for collaboration and cooperation between the University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Already, UD has signed an agreement with Spelman College in Atlanta for exchanges of faculty, students and art from the collection and entered into talks with officials at Delaware State University, where art from the collection is presently on exhibit.
Jones told the audience there is much to learn from the small colleges, which have been Houdinis in accomplishing great things on small budgets, sending outstanding graduates throughout the national to make great contributions.
In addition, Jones said he wanted a home where the art could be woven into the very fabric of American art. We need to stop looking at African American art as if it is on a dotted line out from American art, he said. We need to weave African American art into American art.
I donated my art on behalf of all of you, Jones said, to warm applause. Enjoy it, learn from it, share it, develop a love for it and for each other.
|Brandywine Workshop President Allan L. Edmunds announced that the organization would donate from its collection fine art prints and other art-related materials valued at $350,000 to the Paul R. Jones Collection to enhance its unique partnership with the University of Delaware.
Following the acceptance, Edmunds, who helped found the Brandywine Workshop, an enterprise dedicated to cultural diversity that helps artists create prints so that their work can be more widely shared, asked Jones to remain on stage and asked UD President David P. Roselle to join them.
We have a very special announcement to close the program, Edmunds said. We salute Paul R. Jones for developing this collection to sustain the legacy of African American artists, and we pay tribute to David P. Roselle for supporting the establishment of the Paul R. Jones Collection at the University of Delaware. The University has earned the gratitude of the Brandywine Workshop, and I hereby notify Dr. Roselle of the donation of a collection of fine art prints and materials to the Paul R. Jones Collection.
It is always an honor to represent the University of Delaware, and never more so than tonight, Roselle said as he accepted the gift. We have been greatly honored by our association with Paul Jones.
Earlier in the evening Robert J. Brand, chairman of Brandywine Workshop, described the development of Philadelphias Avenue of the Arts, which features the Kimmel Center, the Brandywine Workshop and the Philadelphia High School of the Creative and Performing Arts.
Now, he said, if you keep going south on the Avenue of the Arts, you get to the University of Delaware.
The awards are named for James Van Der Zee, an African American photographer who operated a studio in Harlem in the early 20th century and whose work captured the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.
Article by Neil Thomas
Photos by Kathy Flickinger