Efforts by University of Arkansas at Little Rock gallery director Brad Cushman to restore a historic mural by Joe Jones got a shot in the arm recently, when the National Endowment for the Humanities provided UALR a $30,000 grant. The grant will pay for a photographic documentation of the 44-foot-long mural, "The Struggle of the South," painted in 1935 by Joe Jones for Commonwealth College and found in pieces in a house in Fort Smith in 1984. Central Arkansas Library Director Bobby Roberts was the archivist for UALR at the time and, recognizing its value, bought the mural for the university for $500. A small portion of the mural was restored by the St. Louis Art Museum for its 2010 exhibition on the social realist painter Jones, who was from St. Louis.
The grant also will support travel, research, and film production for a documentary recording the mural's restoration being made by Cushman and Cheryl Hellman of UALR Television.
Cushman says the mural is the largest example of the artist's work in existence. Read more about the mural project here.