Permission to Create


The Legacy of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones 

The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology is proud to announce a new fine art exhibition in the Marcia W. Downes Art Gallery titled Permission to Create: The Legacy of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones. This exhibition looks at how a single artist’s dedication to her craft can reverberate for generations. The show includes early fine art pieces by renowned Licking County artist, Mary Sherwood Wright Jones (1982-1985) and artworks by family members who have been inspired by her example. The exhibition opens February 5, 2022, celebrating the artists’ work with an all-day opening, allowing visitors to view the display at no charge.

While widely known for her children’s illustrations, this is the first public showing of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones’ early paintings and drawings. With her warm, understated presence, she was a role model for many including several family members who have followed her into the arts. Recent, contemporary paintings and photographs by two of her grandchildren, Michael Kennedy and Anne Sherwood Pundyk, and her great granddaughter, Phoebe Pundyk are installed in the show alongside Jones’ early 20th century realist works.

“She encouraged us to be original,” said artist Michael Kennedy. “Our grandmother truly wanted us to explore our creativity. Through the years, we began to appreciate how her ‘permission to create’ really inspired generations in our own family and beyond. This show celebrates this legacy and allows us to share an important message: creativity can change lives in so many ways.”

In addition to the artworks, New York artist Anne Sherwood Pundyk is launching a new artist’s book with the exhibition called The Garden, published by Space Sisters Press. Modeled on her grandmother’s love of illustrated fairy tales, the book pairs abstract geometric images and short family fables. A reading corner is featured in the gallery to sample this and other illustrated books by Mary Sherwood Wright Jones. Collectively, the artworks, books and videos in the exhibition share Jones’ life lessons with viewers, perhaps inspiring ideas about ways to embrace creativity in their own lives.

On the occasion of the exhibition, four of Mary Sherwood Wright Jones’ original color illustrations depicting notable chapters in the history of Licking County will be donated by her family to The Works. More details about this art exhibition and other events at The Works can be found by visiting The Marcia W. Downes Art Gallery is free and open to the public year-round during Works’ hours of operation, Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to check The Works website for current safety guidelines prior to visiting. Denison University is the 2022 sponsor of the art gallery.

The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology® is a leading regional destination that enriches lives by providing interactive opportunities that inspire creativity and learning. The Works is a Smithsonian Affiliate located at 55 S. 1st Street, Newark, Ohio 43055. For more about The Works, visit