Dr. Stella Jones with Francisco, David and Jose' Mora Catlett at the Drumming of Elizabeth Catlett's 100 year birthday celebration in Congo Square. Louis Armstrong sculpture by Elizabeth Catlett.

Stella Jones GALLERY was the culmination of a dream in 1996 for my late husband, Harry and I.   We had been avid collectors for some time and decided that we wanted to make African American, contemporary African and Caribbean fine art accessible to all. We were fortunate to count many important artists as friends, including Dr. Samella Lewis, who became instrumental in guiding us through the process as gallery owners.

I have been lucky to remain in the same downtown New Orleans location for over twenty years; however I never rely solely on luck. Because art is my passion, I have continuously educated myself on the arts and artists.  I've enrolled in graduate level courses in Museum Studies at Southern University at New Orleans and other universities and seek out written materials from art collectors, dealers, historians, artists, museum directors, curators and bloggers. At a moment's notice, I will fly to an exhibition to see an important artist and will visit an artist at their studio, home or even a coffee shop to better understand their process. In short, I love art, the process of making art and I also love helping others to understand it and love it.

I count myself extremely fortunate to have lived this dream (and my third career after being a Pharmacist and then an OB/GYN) with Harry for seventeen years and now as someone committed to the legacy we built together. I believe it’s my duty to give back and “service is the rent we pay for our space on the Earth.” In the gallery’s decades-long existence, it gives me immense pleasure knowing that it has been a place for emerging collectors to learn about art and an educational resource for artists and art students and my community.

If you're in New Orleans, please stop by and say hello. Collecting art is a joyful and communal experience and living with art that reflects our heritage and our stories is essential to a well-lived life.