The Paul R. Jones Initiative

About the Paul R. Jones Initiative (PRJI)

Paul R. Jones, photographed in 2006 in Mechanical Hall Gallery
Paul R. Jones, photographed in 2006 in Mechanical Hall Gallery

The Paul R. Jones Initiative fosters educational inquiry, interdisciplinary engagement, and critical thinking with and through African American art at the University of Delaware. Founded in conjunction with the gift of the Paul R. Jones Collection, the Initiative supports a broad range of programming intended to strengthen the collection and its interconnectivity with campus life and community. The Initiative supports faculty and student teaching and research related to the collection and curricular outreach related to American art and culture in dialogue with Africa and its diaspora.

Ted Jones, Amos Ashanti Johnson, David Driskell, Paul R. Jones, Sr., Paul R. Jones, Jr., Earl Hooks, Fisk University, Nashville, TN, ca. 1974

The Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture honors Paul. R. Jones and his gift of African American art to the University of Delaware. Since its arrival at UD, the university has supported a wide range of research and curricular programming using African American art as the seminal point of departure. This includes American art and culture in dialogue with Africa and its Diaspora.

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and supported by the University Museums, the PRJI centers and foregrounds the arts through its support of interdisciplinary practices.The strength of the initiative derives from its ability to transcend units, departments, individual agencies, and particular agendas.

Distinguished scholars and artists who have served previously in this capacity include: Gloria Wade Gayles, Richard Long, Rick Powell, Alison Saar, Keith Morrison, David Driskell, Mel Edwards and Jayne Cortez, Sonya Clark and Thomas Allen Harris. The Annual Lecture underscores the relationship and importance of African American art to the broader curriculum, brings attention to African American and African diasporic programming, and showcases an individual whose contributions to the field are exemplary, interdisciplinary, and inspiring.

The Paul R. Jones Initiative is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences with support from the University Museums.



NAACP Award Winner
Producing Artistic Director of the
Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH)
Professional Theatre Training Program (MFA ‘95) and  Communications (BA ‘92)

TyYFCropOption2_9167Thursday, March 10, 2016, 4 p.m.
Paul R. Jones Annual Lecture
“Myth of the Superlative”
Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director
Classical Theatre of Harlem
Gore Recital Hall, Roselle Center for the Arts
Free Admission

Jones will deliver the Prologue (an informal, pre-show presentation) for the REP’s To Kill A Mockingbird
Saturday, March 12, at 1:15 p.m. Tickets required.
Please contact the REP box office @

Sponsored by the Paul R. Jones Initiative, CAS, University Museums, the Department of Theatre and Resident Ensemble Players (REP)

Ty Jones Bio


NAACP Award Winner, TY JONES is the Producing Artistic Director of the Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH). He is a 2013 recipient of the Council of the City of New York Proclamation Award. His role with CTH since 2003 has included: Actor, Producer, Managing Director, Development Director and Board Chair.  Under his leadership, CTH artistic programming has grown in both in scope and recognition. Mr. Jones initiated the acclaimed Uptown Meets Downtown™ program comprising strategic partnerships with downtown theatres designed to build artistic bridges between communities. He also led the inaugural Uptown Shakespeare in the Park, bringing free, outdoor, professional theatre to Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park for an extended run. Bringing his considerable experience as an actor and writer to bear, Mr. Jones also implemented a reading series in which emerging playwrights of color receive the crucial feedback necessary to develop their work. His Broadway debut was in the role of Lt. Byers in Judgment at Nuremberg, and was also seen in the Tony Award- Winning production of Henry IV and Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington. He won an OBIE Award for his portrayal of Archibald in the revival of the critically acclaimed Off- Broadway production The Blacks: A Clown Show.  Also for CTH, Ty received AUDELCO nominations for his performances in Macbeth, Trojan Women, Romeo and Juliet and won Best Actor for his portrayal of Nat Turner, in Emancipation: Chronicles of the Nat Turner Rebellion. He has been notably mentioned in a number of performances including Hamlet with the American Shakespeare Theatre Company in the title role, Paul in Six Degrees of Separation at the Baltimore Center Stage/MSC, Cory in Fences at the Guthrie Theatre, Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami at the Rogue Machine Theatre, and various credits at the Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Pittsburgh Public and the Utah and New Jersey Shakespeare Festivals. Principal film roles include his work in Annie, Tower Heist, The Taking of Pelham123, Redacted, and The International. He has been seen in a number of episodic television productions such as the Blacklist, Power, Forever, Elementary, Ugly Betty, Fringe, and all the Law & Orders.

As a writer, Ty Jones’ play Emancipation: Chronicles of the Nat Turner Rebellion, premiered for the award-winning Classical Theatre of Harlem. Jones first created Emancipation as a screenplay; it was selected as a finalist in the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, was endorsed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, received Honorable Merit from the Writer Digest Screenwriters Association, and won the San Francisco Black Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. Mr. Jones received his MFA from the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program, where he was the recipient of the Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement Award as an alum, and was named “One of 25 to Watch” in TIME OUT magazine.

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