November 14 - December 2, 2017
For Loïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998), trailblazing artist, educator, participant in the Harlem Renaissance, and ambassador for the arts, it all started on Martha’s Vineyard. During childhood summers spent on the Island, Loïs discovered her love of art. She was encouraged by family and friends who recognized her talent, and at the age of 17 held her first exhibition in Vineyard Haven.
After graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Loïs spent nearly 50 years as an educator and head of the art department at Howard University. Throughout her career, she traveled and painted extensively, especially in France and Haiti where she experienced welcome freedom from racial prejudices.
Determined to receive recognition as an artist in the United States, Loïs at first mailed her artwork or had friends deliver it to galleries and museums hosting exhibitions that excluded black artists. Later, as her reputation grew, the same institutions that once shunned her acquired her works for their permanent collections. No matter where she found herself during her life, Loïs returned every summer to the Vineyard to rest, paint, and connect to the place where it all began.
This Spotlight exhibition features new works in the collection along with a selection of books from Loïs’ personal library.