UALR brings restoration to vintage mural
The Department of Arkansas Heritage awarded the UALR gallery an $180,000 grant this June for the restoration of “The Struggle of the South,” a mural painted by artist Joe Jones in 1935.
Originally housed at Polk County’s now-defunct Commonwealth College, the 44-feet work of art was divided into 29 pieces and brought to UALR in 1984. It features images of sharecroppers and coal miners, indicating the social and economic struggles the area has experienced in its history as well as promoting hope and brotherhood among southern residents.
The mural’s conservation will also be chronicled through a documentary, which will be funded by a $30,000 grant received from the National Endowment of the Arts earlier this year.
In a recent press release, gallery director Brad Cushman noted the importance of the mural’s restoration in relation to the university.
“Once the mural is conserved it will become a centerpiece of the UALR campus,” Cushman said. “It will bring national and international attention to the University and be the perfect complement to other cultural institutions in the community such as the Central High School Museum and Visitor Center, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Philander Smith College and the Clinton Presidential Center and the Clinton School of Public Service.”
Restoration, which started on July 1, is expected to be completed over the next three years.