Central High Students Exhibit Portraits at the Paul R. Jones Museum

The Paul R. Jones Museum is pleased to present WITHIN: Portrait Responses to the Paul R. Jones Collection, January 17 through February 16, 2024. The public is invited to a reception on Friday, February 2, 2024, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. during Tuscaloosa’s First Friday Art Walk.

Self-portraits in acrylic by (clockwise from top): Calix Frierson, Zharia Simmons, Blake Easterwood, Cat Bui.

WITHIN is an exhibition of the PRJCAA K-12 Outreach Program, a long-running exhibition series that brings connection and art education to local schools. Partnering with faculty and staff in the UA Department of Art and Art History, the program introduces elementary and secondary school students to artworks from the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama. This year, students from four art classes at Tuscaloosa’s Central High School taught by UA alumni Parker Hunt (MFA 2023), created this exhibition, WITHIN, inspired by artworks in the collection.

The students’ assignment was to create a painting on gessoed wood panel using acrylic paints. After exploring about twenty artworks from the Paul R. Jones Collection in a range of styles and subjects, the students decided as a group to make portraits or self-portraits based on the artist Ashanti Johnson’s portrait of Harriet Tubman (included in the exhibition). Then Hunt guided the students through the entire process of creating a painting. This exhibition includes forty-two paintings by the students alongside the works they explored and were inspired by in the collection.

The students are: Ninth graders RyNeisha Barnes, Jordyn Brown, Taylor Edmonds, Destinee Gatling, Juana Velasquez Gomez, Audrey Hicks, Emeril Leatherwood, LauRyn Lewis, Sa’Ri Lipscomb, Miracle Little, Willow Lunceford, Eniyah Mims, Hannah Poole, Lyric Robert, Xaria Watkins, and Liam Weathersby. Tenth graders Elijah Britton, Jakiara Brown, Shiya Brown, Cat Bui, Joslynn Calhoun, Christopher Cleveland, Fabiana Felipe-Hernandez, Aaliyah Gordon, Jazzaria Griffin, Hudson Guin, Jennifer Gutierrez, Keniya Harris, Brianna Ivory, Kegis Merritt, Pacience Osborne, Zharia Simmons, and Kevin Warren. Eleventh graders Maritha Curry, Calix Frierson and Ma’Kayla Wells. Twelfth graders Blake Easterwood, Aaliyah Golston, Jarell Hodges and Adrina Norfleet.

The Paul R. Jones Museum is an essential part of the education and development of UA students and our community. Admission to the museum is free. The museum is located at 2308 Sixth Street, in downtown Tuscaloosa, one block from the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and First Fridays, 12 noon-8 p.m. Have questions or need assistance? Call (205) 345-3038 or go to their website.

For more information about The University of Alabama’s programs in studio art and art history, visit our Degree Programs page.