The Southern Utah Museum of Art celebrates the legacy of Utah artist Jimmie F. Jones with a new semi-permanent exhibition space and permanent, interactive touchscreen kiosk.
The Southern Utah Museum of Art may well not exist without the support and vision of Utah artist Jimmie F. Jones.
An artist born and raised in Cedar City, Utah, Jones (1933-2009) is loved by not only the local community but also throughout the region. He was a skilled portrait painter, but he believed his true calling was that of a landscapist, and he captured the sweeping vistas of the American Southwest with a mastery of space and dynamic light.
Jones was also a major force in transforming the Braithwaite Gallery at Southern Utah University into an art museum. In 2007, Jones donated his Rockville home and his complete collection of artworks to SUU, along with fourteen final paintings of Zion and the Grand Canyon, which eventually led to the Southern Utah Museum of Art.
SUMA is now expanding its permanent collection viewings with the latest installation of work by Jones in the exhibition Jimmie Jones: My Passion, My Odyssey, on display now through March 4, 2023.
“For the past few years, we have wanted to protect the work of Jimmie Jones and ensure it is preserved for future generations, which limited its availability to the public,” says Jessica Kinsey, SUMA’s executive director. “The staff helped identify ways to exhibit his work through smaller rotations that will make it more accessible while keeping preservation at the forefront of SUMA’s exhibition practices. This gallery space will be a great way to honor the legacy of Jimmie Jones.”
Because of his contributions to and long history with the museum and its community, SUMA will offer ongoing gallery space for his work. The Jimmie F. Jones Gallery will exhibit Jones’s work, the work of other regional artists, and works from his personal collection, which include his brother Scott Jones’s collection of rock-and-roll concert posters from the Fillmore West and other legendary West Coast venues.
In an effort to make SUMA’s collection more accessible to the public, a permanent touchscreen kiosk has been installed next to the Jimmie F. Jones Gallery, allowing visitors to view Jones’s works as well as other highlights from SUMA’s collection that are not currently on display.
“This device will allow patrons to navigate through the Museum’s CatalogIt Hub and explore our collection,” explains James Culbertson, SUMA’s preparator. “Some of the collections we have on the Hub include the most recent Jones retrospective from 2020, an assortment of rock-and-roll posters collected by Scott Jones, and a scrapbook of miscellaneous items kept by Jones’s mother, Thelma.” With this new resource, visitors will be able to see more of the museum’s collection as new digital galleries are rolled out in the coming months.
The first exhibition of Jimmie Jones’s work in this semi-permanent space, Jimmie Jones: My Passion, My Odyssey includes six paintings by Jones and shows different scenes from a Grand Canyon landscape. Having spent many seasons working and painting on the North and South Rims, Jones once expressed, “The Grand Canyon is my passion now. It’s like a lover you cannot get enough of. It’s my odyssey.” Even though Jones painted many other landscapes, he would always return to the topography and vistas of the Grand Canyon, which became his muse. In these paintings, Jones successfully captures the space, depth, and magical light for which the red rock region is famous.
SUMA brings world-class art to the Cedar City community and the campus of Southern Utah University. A work of art itself, inspired by regional slot canyons designed by Brooks + Scarpa, the museum features a rotating exhibition schedule of emerging and distinguished artists from around the country, regional artists known for their landscapes, and faculty and student artists from the SUU Department of Film, Art, & Design. Strengths of the nearly 2,000-object permanent collection include the body of work by Jones, a suite of photographs by Brett Weston, and a robust collection of prints featuring well-known artists such as Pierre-August Renoir, Salvador Dalí, Katsushika Hokusai, Thomas Hart Benton, and others.
Admission to SUMA is free and open to the public Monday–Saturday, 10 am-6 pm.