September 23, 2021
This week's Speaker is Tony Jones, The Nerman Family President, Kansas City Art Institute. His topic is "Rockhill: Two Showrooms and a Factory."
Born in Wales, Great Britain, Professor Tony Jones is an internationally-known arts administrator, broadcaster, educator, exhibition curator and historian of art, architecture and design, and a consultant on higher education and the arts. A citizen of both Britain and the United States, he was educated at Goldsmith’s College in London and the Newport College of Art in Wales as a sculptor, painter and art historian. He initially came to the United States for postgraduate study as a Fulbright Scholar to Tulane University in New Orleans.

Professor Jones served as Director of the renowned Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, and was appointed President of America’s top-ranked School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 1986, serving in that capacity until 1991, when he was invited to become Director of the Royal College of Art, London, the world’s leading college of art and design. He returned to SAIC in 1997 and served as president until 2012, when he was named Chancellor and President-Emeritus, and was co-CEO of the Corporation of the Art Institute of Chicago until his retirement.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth conferred him the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE ) in 2003, Professor Jones holds a Master of Fine Arts from Tulane University in New Orleans, six Honorary Doctorates and an array of international honors. He was conferred the Knight’s Cross of Austria for services to education in Europe, elected an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, and received the Distinguished Service Award of the American Lawyers for the Arts, among many others. He is a former two-term national chairman of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design. He was appointed Honorary Professor of the University of Wales, Honorary Director of Musashino Art University, and Honorary Director of the Osaka University of Arts in Japan, and is the Pao Yue-Kong Visiting Professor at Ningbo University, China. In 2011, an historic building in downtown Chicago was named ‘Jones Hall’ in his honour. In 2020, the original student living center at the KCAI campus was renovated and repurposed and named ‘Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration’ in Jones’ honour by the KCAI Board of Trustees.

He is a recognized authority on the development of art, design and architecture in the Modern Age, most notably the work of British architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the Arts & Crafts Movement, the Wiener Werkstatte, the Celtic Revival and the British chief designer for Liberty’s of London, Archibald Knox. He has created numerous exhibitions in the U.K. and U.S., as well as several touring exhibitions in Japan. In addition to numerous books and articles, he has scripted and hosted several television series and radio programmes for the BBC, including “Cities Under the Skin: Glasgow and Chicago” for BBC-TV Scotland and “Painting the Dragon,” a four-part series on contemporary artists for BBC-TV Wales. His seminal book “Welsh Chapels” resulted in a major exhibition of his research into chapel culture at the National Museum Cardiff, and two HTV television programs.

In January 2015, Professor Jones was asked to serve as Interim President of the Kansas City Art Institute. Less than a year into his interim position he was asked to remain as the permanent President, which has since been endowed and named The Nerman Family President. He secured the largest gifts given to any college of art and design in the United States, and is currently overseeing the expansion of Kansas City Art Institute by commissioning three new buildings.

Professor Jones is married to the distinguished American photographer Patty Carroll, and they currently reside in Kansas City and Chicago.

We will be meeting in person this week at the Gallery, however a Zoom link for this meeting will be emailed to members who cannot attend in person. If you would like to visit as a guest, please email Executive Director Mandy Sheldon.

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