By John Filonow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Many people know Ron Jones or at least his Stillwater murals.
Jones is a longtime city employee, working at various jobs in the Parks and Recreation Department for 34 years. He is the department’s construction crew chief.
He is also an artist — primarily a painter, but likes the personal fingerprint of pottery, too.
Jones was lead artist for murals at the Stillwater Municipal Pool and the Winnelson Building which is now slated for demolition. The Winnelson Building is located on South Husband Street and West Eighth Avenue.
The mural at the Winnelson Building was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh and depicts an Oklahoma landscape, Jones said.
The building was scheduled to be razed in November. City of Stillwater Marketing and Public Relations Director Sherry Fletcher said the building will be coming down soon.
A framed picture of the Winnelson mural will be given to Jones and the crew that painted the mural. Another framed picture will be on display at the Municipal Building, she said. The presentation is tentatively scheduled for the City Council meeting on Dec. 17.
Jones didn’t have an art attack until college, saying he didn’t take art classes in high school.
His first art class was at Oklahoma State University. It was an upper-division ceramics class that his professor told him he would likely flunk because of his lack of experience.
He didn’t, he said, and his professor, Ron du Bois, became a mentor and a friend.
Du Bois, OSU professor emeritus of art, said art and art education is important to a community.
Jones is a good influence on the community because his art education allows him to think outside the box, du Bois said.
“I see Ron as a sensitive and perceptive person,” du Bois said.
Du Bois said he would like to see Stillwater apply to the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition to receive money to have the Winnelson Building mural preserved and relocated more prominently.
Jones has turned to teaching art. He has conducted classes at the Multi Arts Center and would like to teach more.
His position with Parks and Recreation keeps him busy. He is in charge of four employees and two seasonal workers as construction crew chief.
Art and the Parks and Recreation Department improve the quality of life in Stillwater. He understands the city must fund essentials like police and fire protection first.
The recession created budget cuts throughout the city, Fletcher said.
Jones, 62, is casting an eye toward eventual retirement.
“I’ve got lots of interests and not enough time for all of my art projects,” Jones said.
The city employee said he is glad Oklahoma State University is turning the former Postal Plaza building into an art gallery, and hopes it will help create a thriving art community in the city.