TU Pre-College student’s artwork featured in Wiregrass Gallery exhibit

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Jessica Jones may be only 13 years old, but the aspiring artist is about to have her first gallery show.

Jones will have her artwork on display Saturday and through the month of November as part of the Emerging Student Artists Exhibit at the Wiregrass Gallery in downtown Thomasville.

The daughter of Sharon Jones and Stacy Martin, Jones is an eighth-grader at the Scholars Academy in Thomasville and a participant in Thomas University’s GEAR UP/Pre-College Programs. Her love for art began when she was 6 years old watching her father draw. Noticing her interest, her father began to teach her a few things about art. At school Jones enjoyed art classes and began doing artwork on her own. She even won first place with one of her paintings at the Thomas County Fair.

Jones’ parents encouraged their daughter’s pursuit of art.

“They have been telling me how good my art was and encouraging me to do more,” she said. “My mother has bought art supplies and even put me in art classes to better my skills as an artist.”

When she was 8 years old, Jones’ mother gave her a drawing pad, tracing book and an easel for Christmas. When she was 12, her mother gave her a sketchbook. Now Jones works with an art teacher to improve her skills.

“Sometimes I look at pictures and think about doing something similar to it, so I change it up a little and create it,” she said.

While Jones has created mosaics and worked with chalk colors and various types of paints, she prefers acrylic paints.

“I like to use acrylic paints because they are easier to work with,” she said.

For Jones, creating art “makes me feel calm and at peace.”

The opening reception for the Emerging Student Artists Exhibit will be held Saturday, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jones will be on hand to discuss her work from 1 to 3 p.m. Her work will be on exhibit at Wiregrass Gallery through November, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Monday, and 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

Each month artwork by students in the region will be featured in the Emerging Student Artists Exhibit at Wiregrass Gallery. TU’s Pre-College Programs are federally funded programs that provide academic, cultural and social enrichment activities to middle and high school students. The main objective of both programs is to help participants enter and succeed at a postsecondary institution by removing academic, cultural, economic and social barriers. The Pre-College Programs serve students in Decatur and Thomas counties, as well as in Thomasville City Schools System.

In addition to exhibiting the students’ artwork, a scholarship fundraiser has been established for students accepted for the exhibit. Wiregrass Cooperative members have published a 2021 calendar featuring their artwork. A limited number of these can be purchased, with all proceeds going to the scholarship fundraisers. In addition, a donation box will be available near the exhibit. For more information, contact Jose Batista, GEAR UP/Pre-College Program Coordinator, at 787-645-8364.

Jessica Jones

Thomas University

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