The “Painting and Drawing Faculty Exhibition” was the newest addition to the Art Gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University. Originally opening on Aug. 4, 2020, the exhibit is dedicated to former university professor and faculty member Andy Jones who died on Jan. 25, 2020.
Jones spent 20 years teaching painting and drawing in the Department of Art and Art History at Eastern. Jones got his bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, NC in 1980. He received his master’s degree in fine arts from Louisiana Tech University in 1982. Jones is best known for designing the back of the CT quarter in 1998, which the Houston Chronicle honored as the best state quarter design in 2008. In 2007, Jones established the Andy Jones Visual Arts Scholarship. The scholarship is given out to college juniors majoring in the arts who are in good academic standing.
“We [the gallery] really hope that not only the students but also faculty members and members of the Willimantic community will get a newfound love for art and an inspiration to create,” Jeniel Edmonds, a fifth-semester developmental psychology major, said.
She also stated that the gallery plans to limit the amount of people admitted inside at one time to 25 in order to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Works that were featured in the gallery included oil paintings from Jones, such as one entitled Etin, The Dog. This was a 1998 painting featuring a black dog laying down on the ground with a table and windows in the background.
Another notable piece from the collection was a piece called “Women of Shahnameh” by Afarin Rahmanifar. It displays different women on several sheets of vellum paper in a circle. Rahmanifar is an associate professor of Art and Art History at Eastern who received her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting, drawing and printmaking from the University of Connecticut.
“We don’t get a lot of student traffic, but when we do, a lot of people like Andy’s [Jones] work,” Amanda Ouk, an art major at Eastern and gallery assistant at the Eastern Gallery, said.
Ouk said one of her favorite pieces at the gallery is titled “Pondering Series” by Karen Bartone. These are circular paintings that feature a pond with trees in the background that are made to look like a fisheye view.
According to the art gallery’s website, the guiding principles of the gallery include staying committed to exhibiting programming with depth and relevance to multiple disciplinary perspectives, attracting diverse audience members and holding up the public liberal arts message of the university.
If you are interested in visiting the gallery, it runs until Oct. 1. It is located on 306 High Street in Willimantic, CT. The hours for the gallery are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is closed on Mondays. There will be a ceremony for the opening of the gallery that will take place on Sept. 10 between 4 and 6 p.m. Entry to this reception and to the gallery are free of charge.