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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


An Indian artist of Delaware-Shawnee-Peoria descent, Ruthe Blalock Jones (Chu-Lun-Dit) was born in Claremore, Oklahoma, on June 8, 1939, to Charles Joe and Lucy Parks Blalock. Raised in a "traditional Indian family," she attended Bacone College High School and received an associate degree from Bacone in 1970. After receiving a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Tulsa in 1972, she earned a master's degree from Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, in 1989. She began her art career, however, at age ten as a student of Oklahoma artist Charles Banks Wilson. At age thirteen she entered the Philbrook Indian Annual show, her first competition, winning an honorable mention. Since 1979 she has taught art at Bacone College.

Jones has worked in a variety of media, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, and pen and ink. She generally adheres to a traditional two-dimensional "flat" style, with images placed in negative space or blank background. Her paintings' subjects derive from her personal experiences, and she concentrates on painting Indian women in dance attire. She often places them in one of various ceremonial or spiritual contexts, such as powwows, stomp dances, and meetings of the Native American Church. She has exhibited at venues around the world, including the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University.

The artist's works reside in the collections of major American museums, including the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and the Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundation) in New York. Other institutions include Bacone College, the Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., and the University of Tulsa.

Jones has served on the Governor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and in 1993 received the Oklahoma Governor's Arts and Education Award. She was included in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2000 received Bacone College's Dick West Award. She has served on the board of the Jacobson Foundation in Norman. At the beginning of the twenty-first century she resided in Okmulgee, served as associate professor of art in Bacone College, and continued to paint and exhibit her works around the nation and in foreign nations.

Dianna Everett

Learn More

Robert Henkes, Native American Painters of the Twentieth Century: The Works of 61 Artists (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1995).

Patrick D. Lester, The Biographical Directory of Native American Painters (Tulsa, Okla.: SIR Publications, 1995).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Jones, Ruthe Blalock,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=JO026.

Published January 15, 2010

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