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DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Presents Full Spectrum: The Prolific Master within Loïs Mailou Jones

Thursday, September 11, 2014
Gallery Exhibition Celebrates the Life and Career of Loïs Mailou Jones

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) presents a special exhibition exploring milestones in the life and artistic career of Loïs Mailou Jones. Full Spectrum: The Prolific Master within Loïs Mailou Jones will open on Monday, November 3, with a reception on the artist’s own birthday. The exhibit will feature paintings, drawings, and prints showing the evolutionary progression of work created over seven decades of her career. Curated by DCCAH Resident Curator Zoma Wallace, Full Spectrum will be on view through January 30, 2015. The exhibition and its programming are free and open to the public.

200 I STREET GALLERY – 200 I (EYE) Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003

EXHIBITION: November 3, 2014 – January 30, 2015


Opening Reception: Monday, November 3, 2014, 6 PM – 8 PM

Press Preview: Thursday, October 30, 2014, 2 PM – 4 PM

Documentary Film Screening: Loïs Mailou Jones: Fifty Years of Painting, To Be Announced

Workshops:     Watercolor – Sunday, November 30, 2014, 1 PM – 4 PM

                        Color Theory – Sunday, December 7, 2014, 1 PM – 4 PM

                        Portraiture – Sunday, December 14, 2014, 1 PM – 4 PM

Exhibition Tour: January 25, 2 PM – 3 PM

Exhibition Talk: Discussion with former students of Loïs Mailou Jones, on Sunday, January 25, 2015, 3 PM – 4 PM

Gallery Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 9 AM – 6PM

This exhibition serves as a welcome home for many works that have been on travel throughout the nation and the world over the last few years. Beginning with early drawings completed during her formative years as an art student in Boston, touching on textile designs as an apprentice and young professional, and moving through a dynamic trajectory of painting, the collection of works demonstrates the prolific drive within the artist to continue to build on laurels, rather than rest on them. Fusions of stylistic elements from modern art movements are evident in each decade of her work, exemplifying her mastery of conveying impactful imagery in a wide spectrum of colors, styles, and media.

Recognizing the immense contributions of Loïs Mailou Jones is important for Washington, DC due to the sheer number of artists and institutions she influenced throughout her storied career. Whether anonymously affecting popular visual culture with her designs, inspiring and challenging her students and colleagues at Howard University, integrating the Washington Watercolor Society with her undeniable expertise, or collaborating with leading artists and intellectuals to create lasting images for universal ideals, Jones has been remembered as one who exacted excellence from herself and others in all endeavors. As the sole District government agency for the arts, it is the responsibility of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to provide educational exhibitions and attendant programs for the public to enjoy at no cost. As a historic icon in the arts and humanities that made her home in Washington, DC, Loïs Mailou Jones is a figure for future generations of Washingtonians to discover and share in her legacy when creating in the nation’s capital.

Full Spectrum honors the memory and contributions of Loïs Mailou Jones to arts communities locally, nationally, and internationally,” said Judith Terra, Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “We are pleased to be able to present her artwork. Such an exhibition enhances Washington, DC’s standing as a world-class cultural capital.”

“This exhibition acknowledges the fantastic work of Loïs Mailou Jones, one of our city’s most beloved visual artists,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Full Spectrum highlights the artist’s major artistic contributions to both the District and the world, showcasing our city as a wonderful place to live, work, and play.”

“The trustees and I are pleased and proud that the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will be honoring Loïs with this exhibition which opens on what would have been her 109th birthday,” said Chris Chapman, M.D.  General Trustee, Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noël Trust. “Loïs was fortunate to have lived a long life, and often said, ‘At 90, I arrived!’ In May 1996, in her 90th year, Loïs received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Corcoran School of Art. Her speech included these words: ‘In the 30's and 40's, the social climate was not kind to a black woman artist.’ It was race, not a lack of talent, that kept your work out of many exhibitions.

We are all fortunate that Loïs never gave up her dream of becoming an artist. The Full Spectrum exhibit will be an eye-opening look at this determined trailblazer.”

About Loïs Mailou Jones

Born November 3, 1905 in Boston and trained at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Loïs Mailou Jones began her career at a time when racial prejudices and gender discrimination were strong in American culture. Loïs Mailou Jones is a trailblazer, a respected college professor, an artist ambassador, and an international expert on culture who documented everything she saw and did as a painter in the Harlem Renaissance, as an illustrator for Carter Woodson, a colleague of Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, an educator and mentor, and a champion of black artists in Africa and the Caribbean.

Along with being an award-winning artist, Loïs became known as a tireless advocate for international artists, especially for Africans and Haitians who would not have been known outside of their own countries without her help. She was a noted educator, having taught painting and design at Howard University for 47 years. Among her illustrious students are David Driskell, Elizabeth Catlett, and Martha Jackson-Jarvis. Invited to the White House eight times, Jones received recognition and acclaim in her lifetime through major exhibitions and representation in some of the most important museum collections. Her work remains as a significant contribution to American art canon.

About the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, professional opportunities, education enrichment, and other programs and services to individuals and nonprofit organizations in all communities within the District of Columbia.

The Arts Commission is supported primarily by District government funds and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.