“Sam Jones (B.F.A. ’09 in Photography) is an artist with a dream,” said Professor Linda Adele Goodine, who teaches photography and intermedia at Herron. “He has followed his vision to graduate school and now, the larger art stage. It’s an infinite plan to create and bring wonder and curiosity to the public by making art that begs us to look at who we are and where we come from.”
Goodine’s assessment was not lost on those who bestow the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, which for nine years has been awarded to an African-American artist “who demonstrates great innovation, promise and creativity.” George Wein created the $50,000 prize in memory of his wife. It is given each year by the Studio Museum in Harlem. The prize was announced on October 27.
“I remember Sam Jones vividly,” said Professor Jean Robertson. “He was a student in several of my art history classes, and a complete pleasure in every way. He was always engaged in class and eager to learn and discuss. He was particularly interested in documentary photography that shone a light on the situation of impoverished and disadvantaged people. Sam has a strong sense of social justice, and wanted to use his art to make a difference in the world. Clearly he was a young man who was going to be a success, given his dedication and commitment.”
As for Jones, he said he was at home in the San Francisco Bay area when he got the fateful phone call. “I was really surprised. I never imagined getting this award.” His website describes his art making as “…an attempt to address identity within the modern world upon the existence of exclusion.” He describes his first class in photography as a life changing experience even though his work has evolved into additional mediums.
Work by Jones will be featured in Black White Thread, a solo exhibition opening on November 8 at Papillon in Los Angeles.