UALR Art Gallery director to discuss preservation of historic Arkansas mural

A restored panel of the mural "The Struggle of the South"

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Art Gallery Director Brad Cushman will discuss the university’s efforts to preserve a famous Arkansas mural that depicts the lives of sharecroppers.

The community luncheon and talk by Cushman will begin at noon Saturday, Nov. 5, at First Presbyterian Church, 800 Scott St., Little Rock. The church will also hold its annual fall sale from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

St. Louis-born landscape painter and muralist Joe Jones painted “The Struggle of the South” in 1935 at the Commonwealth College in Mena, Arkansas. Jones achieved national recognition in the 1930s for his depictions of urban and rural scenes of the American heartland.

The mural wrapped around the walls of the dining commons at Commonwealth College, where students met to discuss social and political issues. UALR Archives acquired the mural in 1984. For 25 years, the UALR Department of Art cared for and protected the mural’s fragile and damaged panels.

Following the “Joe Jones: Painter of the American Scene” exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum from 2010 to 2011, the UALR Gallery Program successfully obtained grant funding from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resource Commission to complete the restoration of the mural.   

Helen Houp Fine Arts Conservation Studio in Dallas completed work on the mural. UALR is working to raise funding for a permanent exhibition space for the mural on the main campus.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the event’s webpage. Attendance is limited to 160 people.

For more information, contact Cushman at or 501.569.8977.

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