Call it Cowboys Stadium or AT&T Stadium: Whatever you name it, a constant throughout has been the facility’s focus on art thanks to Gene Jones, the art-passionate wife of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. The Dallas Cowboys Art Collection continues to evolve and now includes 90 works, 18 commissioned, by 58 artists. The Collection is displayed over two campuses—AT&T Stadium in Arlington, and at The Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters at The Star in Frisco. Jones is also passionate about arts education, and Arlington ISD students are the beneficiaries of her visionary largesse.
“It’s so important to reach students when they are young,” Jones says. “That’s when you can make an impact on their lives. We know that students who complete more arts classes have up to a 15 percent higher pass rate on standardized tests. Also, at-risk high school students who complete more than one art class in school have a 50 percent less chance of not becoming dropouts.” Jones first partnered with AISD fifth-graders in 2015, and since then, programs have developed to include elementary, junior high and high school students. More than 13,500 of them have benefited.
Last spring, seventh-graders from all 10 AISD junior high schools were invited to create art helmets in a competition to celebrate the 2018 NFL draft event at the Stadium. The 10 winning helmets were displayed on rotation in the Cowboys War Room during the draft, and the Jones family ultimately bought them through the NFL Auction, with proceeds going to AISD. The helmets were on pre-season view at the stadium and then donated back to their school of origin.
Mrs. Jones enthuses about interfacing with AISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos and visual arts coordinator Linh Nguyen, adding, “We’ve all worked to enrich all of these children’s lives through art. It’s very exciting to see the program grow, and we know these young people will carry this experience with them for the rest of their lives.”