History of the ODU Art Department/Elliott Jones

Elliot C. Jones (born 1951) is an Associate Professor of Art at Old Dominion University (ODU) with thirty years experience in higher education, teaching a variety of courses including two dimensional design; color; basic, intermediate and advanced drawing and painting; basic art appreciation; and graduate level studio and seminar courses. Jones' paintings and drawings have been exhibited across the country as far south as Jackson, Mississippi, as far north as Albany, New York, and as far west as Minot, North Dakota.


Currently serving as an Associate Professor of Art, Jones has served as head of the Drawing and Design Program at Old Dominion since 1992 and recently took on the role as head of the Painting Program as well. He was also the Graduate Program Director for the University’s Art Department from 2000-2001.

Prior to his current position, Jones was an Assistant Professor at ODU from 1992 to 1997. Before coming to Old Dominion, he worked as an Assistant Professor of Art at Norfolk State University from 1977 till 1992. In the spring of 1977 he held the position of Artist in Residence at the Prince Edward County Public Schools through the ESAA Project, Virginia Commission of the Arts and Humanities.

Jones has contributed to the formation of the ODU Art Department in many ways including assisting curriculum development, introducing the concept of an art class focused solely on sources in art making which received funding support, and with coordinating foundation courses. During his year as Grad Program Director, he helped advance the non-media specific joint art program with Norfolk State University. He has twelve years of combined administrative experience as Co-Director of the joint graduate program in Visual Studies offered by Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. Jones also has extensive experience serving on councils and committees that deal with student performance, program review, and policymaking.

A great resource for students, Jones has been nominated for faculty recognition in Old Dominion’s yearbook as someone who is viewed to be a great service to students. He was also nominated as Teacher of the Year (the Stern Award), a prestigious University-wide honor where only one faculty member from each department is nominated. Jones has worked very closely with the ODU Student Art League (ODU SAL) for over ten years. Due to much of his efforts, SAL is very active in the community and has completed numerous extracurricular projects over the years. Jones has impacted many young people, and some of his former students have gone on to do great things, such as Heather Bryant who is now an adjunct faculty member at the university and the faculty advisor for SAL.


Jones graduated Magna Cum Laude from Norfolk State College in Norfolk, VA with a BA in Fine Arts in 1974, and was a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society. He went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH in 1976. In 1969, Jones also studied at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

Works of ArtsEdit

Most of Jones’ art is exhibited at the national and regional level, with some local showings as well. He has shown in galleries and exhibits across the country in many states such as Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, Washington and others. His work has been in well over 20 exhibitions including “Successions: African-American Art by Contemporary Artists”, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA; “The Alliance of Queens Artists present ‘Today’s American Artists’”, the Federal Hall National Memorial Rotunda, New York, NY; “The 24th (and 27th) Irene Leache Memorial Biennial Exhibition”, Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA; and “The Printmaking and Drawing Biennial”, Virginia Museum, Richmond, VA. Jones also chosen as one of only seventeen artists invited to exhibit in “The Art of Prominent African American Artists 2007” in the Selden Gallery in Norfolk, VA.

Some example of Jones’ commissioned work is a portrait of Reverent Melvin Boone, retired pastor of the Metropolitan Baptist Church if Suffolk, VA which was hung in his honor at the Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, VA. He completed and installed a triptych oil painting entitled The Way displayed in East End Baptist Church in Suffolk, VA. He completed a pastel portrait of Hugo A. Owens, former Rector of the ODU Board of Visitors for placement in the Hugo A. Owens African American Culture Center in Norfolk, VA.

Jones has received many awards, honors, and recognitions through the years. Some of these include winning first place prize in the two-dimensional art category in “Our Cultural Diversity” at the Chesapeake Museum. He was featured in a newspaper article entitled “Memorial Portrait Captures Essence of Suffolk Educator” in the Hampton Roads section of the Virginian-Pilot in 1998 for his portrait painting of Mack Benn Jr., a former Educator and Administrator for the Suffolk Public Schools. He won first place in drawing at the South Cobb Arts Alliance’s 10th National Juried Art Exhibition in Mableton, GA. Jones also received the Award of Excellence for his work in the Tidewater Artists Association minority artists exhibition in Norfolk, VA. He also serves in the community and in 1995 Jones received the Outstanding Achievement in the Arts Award by the United Concerned Citizens League of Virginia Beach, a group that sponsors activities to further the social, economic, and educational needs of the African-American community.