"I AM 400" banner at Sullivan Student Center
A new 4x12-foot banner I AM 400 by father and son artists, Jerome W. Jones, Jr. and Jeromyah Jones, was installed in the Sullivan Student Center in January 2021, featuring portraits of trailblazers of African descent, including Shirley Chisholm, Wynton Marsalis, Martin Luther King, III, Stevie Wonder, Dorothy Height, Alex Haley, Nikki Giovanni, Arthur Ashe, Kwame Ture, Yityish Aynaw, Lonnie Liston Smith, Grover Washington, Jr., Xernona Clayton, General Colin Powell, and others.
For over 40 years, Jerome W. Jones, Jr., has been using his original paintings to teach “the art of life through the love of art” to inspire young and old to use their gifts to uplift others. Jerome’s creative style of portraiture reflects the likeness of his subjects and their stories. Jones’ art company, The Painter’s Poetree, features his original paintings, portraits, poetree, and prints. Jerome has over 100 autographed portraits in his Ingenious Artistic Minds series of paintings. He received his bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1980.
His son, Jeromyah Jones, paints in the footsteps of his father and holds a 2011 bachelor of arts degree in comprehensive art from Hampton University. Jeromyah’s landscape paintings have been featured in Maymont Park’s Centennial of the Japanese Garden in Richmond, Virginia, and he has exhibited work alongside that of his father at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Hampton University Museum, the Gallery at Main Street Station in Richmond, and the Trumpet Awards Celebration.
Together their work has been featured in international and national print venues, on-line, and in television outlets, including The Art Newspaper, CNN, Ebony, LAND Magazine, HuffPost, NBA on TNT, NBC’s Today Show, and Voice of America.
“How Old I Am”
“I AM 400” is a banner composed of 69 works of art between a father and son.
Highlighting four hundred years of what our people have done.
We raised the banner high when the shows didn’t come ….
We came to figure some things are hidden because hearts are hardened.
Now we know the story of Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden.
From painting black queens at NASA
To unsung surgeons and pastors,
We painted the athletes who leaped the hurdles faster,
We painted the movements that existed before and after
Their pictures were seen in motion,
We painted activists who read their daily devotions,
We painted a drum major and a Marshall for justice,
We painted those who will leave with great substance,
We painted the chains and painted the yokes,
We painted the historians who held on to Hope,
We painted our Roots and the author who wrote,
We painted the artists and the poets who spoke,
We painted the Church where the bombing occurred,
Some tears still fall from dreams disturbed,
Hatred still exists when visions are blurred,
We paint the pictures plain so The Word is heard,
We painted the messengers and our attorneys,
Who fought for liberation on our journey,
Whether the first Africans were enslaved or indentured,
We can’t overlook that their freedom was hindered,
There may have been 20, but they sure weren’t odd,.
It ain’t a secret that their labor was hard,
I AM tells us who we are,
I AM is the One who raises the bar!
And when they ask how old I am….
Whether at a convention, conference, or summit,
I let them know that “I AM 400!”
© 2019 Jeromyah Jones