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Mechanical Hall renovation proceeds

3:00 p.m., May 21, 2003--After hosting Army ROTC since 1954, Mechanical Hall is being converted into an art gallery to house the Paul R. Jones Collection, with research and study space, a collection storage area and office space.

The interior of the 1898 structure is undergoing extensive renovations, including the installation of metal stud partitions on the first and second floors. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing work is proceeding throughout the building, and a new roof has been installed.

The exterior appearance of the building, which first housed the mechanical and electrical engineering departments of what was then Delaware College, will not change.

Whiting-Turner is carrying out the $4.6 million renovation.

With more than 1,500 pieces, the Paul R. Jones Collection is one of the oldest, largest and most complete holdings of African-American art in the world.

Currently showcased in the collector’s Atlanta home and in exhibitions across the country, the Paul R. Jones Collection includes works by such noted artists as Charles White, Herman “Kofi” Bailey and David Driskell. Other artists represented include Elizabeth Catlett, Earl Hooks, Leo Twiggs, Stanley White, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, P.H. Polk and Selma Burke, who created the image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt that appears on the dime.

On March 21, Edward Loper Sr. became the first Delaware artist to be added to the Paul R. Jones Collection. The paintings by the Wilmington artist added to the collection are “Portrait of Benoit Coté" and “Winter Still Life,” a view of the snow from Loper’s dining room.

When the Paul R. Jones Collection moves into its new home in Mechanical Hall in the fall, UD will transfer to the Jones Collection a third Loper painting, “Building,” which has been part of UD’s Permanent Art Collection since 1967.

For more information on the Paul R. Jones Collection, contact curator Amalia Amaki, assistant professor of Black American Studies, at 831-4075 or via e-mail at [amaki@udel.edu].

Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson