Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Artist Wadsworth Jarrell to visit campus

Wadsworth Jarrell, an artist whose piece “Jazz Giants” is featured in the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, will hold a lecture tonight.

The lecture, part of the Paul R. Jones Artist Lecture Series, will take place at 5:15 p.m. in ten Hoor Hall Room 30. There will be a reception following the lecture, and Jarrell will sign copies of his book “Wadsworth Jarrell: The Artist as Revolutionary.”

The event is free and open to the public. Jarrell will speak about his life as a politically engaged artist.

Stacy Morgan, an associate professor of American Studies, said the lecture series has been held since the late Paul R. Jones donated the collection in 2008.

“The idea with the series has been to invite artists whose work is represented in the collection to campus to talk about their work in a broader sense,” Morgan said.

Morgan said Jarrell became most famous when working with a group of artists known as AfriCOBRA to create the “Wall of Respect” mural in Chicago.

“Their idea was that they wanted to create art that was accessible to the community, meaning particularly to the black community, to the poor working class, audiences that weren’t necessarily going to art galleries or to museums in large numbers at that point in the 1960s,” Morgan said.

The mural was a catalyst for an explosion of public mural paintings across the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s.

The artists in AfriCOBRA wanted to create a mural in an outdoor setting to respond to the politics of the 1960s Black Power Movement, Morgan said. The mural was a way for them to help empower black communities.

The “Wall of Respect” featured many heroes from black history, including artists, musicians, athletes, writers and political leaders.

“[The mural] was trying to create a historical narrative showing these different examples of Black Achievement in American History,” Morgan said.

The artists worked on the mural collectively.

Jarrell will also be on campus visiting with art students to give them feedback on their work, Morgan said.

Jarrell, who is 81 and lives in Cleveland, is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and taught at Howard University and the University of Georgia.

Miriam Norris, collections manager for the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art, said the collection is made up of mostly African-American art.

Norris said Jones envisioned African-American art as part of the larger American art and should be viewed that way.

Jones started collecting in the 1960s and continued until his death in January.

“His collecting of African-American art stemmed from noticing that African-American artists weren’t being collected as much as other American artists,” Norris said. “He, as an art collector, became a great support to a number of artists.”

Norris said he bought up-and-coming artists’ work to encourage them and also collected well-known artists’ work.

Jones has a long history with the University, dating back to 1949, she said.

“He applied to the law school here and he received a letter that strongly encouraged him not to attend the University because he was African-American,” Norris said. “For someone to have that long history with the University in the time where Alabama and the South have had a difficult history, for him to come back and give his art collection to the University, it shows how much of an amazing person he was, how much of a forgiving person and generous person to share what he enjoyed with all the students that are here and the students that will be here in the future.”

Jones never attended the University. He also gave a collection to the University of Delaware.

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