Dutchess County Executive's Arts Awards 2022

Jordan “Jae” Jones (Posthumously)


Jordan “Jae” Jones loved video editing, and he loved being creative.

After being introduced to Spark Studios and Forge Media at The Art Effect in Poughkeepsie by a best friend, Jordan really found his groove and became part of the team.

“He was exposed to a lot of different types of media, film and editing, photography” said Jordan’s mother, Sharley McIver of Poughkeepsie. “It was something he really enjoyed over there at The Art Effect. He really liked it and continued on and became something. It was something he wanted to do for himself. He enjoyed learning. He had a mentor, Paul Thompson, who he really learned a lot from. He really enjoyed his time there.”

Jordan joined The Art Effect in the spring of 2019 as a youth media producer in the Spark Studios media workforce program.

According to The Art Effect website, thearteffect.org, “Jordan was recognized by the Poughkeepsie City School District for his fantastic video editing on an anti-bullying PSA, ‘Be A Part of The Solution,’ intended for Poughkeepsie Middle School Students. Jordan went on to produce several projects, including the award-winning short film ‘If You Choose to Accept.’

“Jordan continued his work with The Art Effect throughout the years in other programs and work experiences. Jordan was key production assistant for Forge Media, a member of the Trolley Barn Gallery Curatorial team, and a part time video producer for The Art Effect’s in-house productions.” 

Jordan very sadly passed away in the spring of 2022, at age 20.

“Jordan’s co-workers gravitated towards his quiet leadership and truly respected him,” reads the message on thearteffect.org. “…Though Jordan was often quiet, his words were powerful. The Art Effect was a safe place for Jordan and he was like family to all of the students and staff. Jordan’s serene presence will be truly missed.”

But his artistic legacy, his accomplishments, his enthusiasm and passion for creativity continue to inform and amplify the Dutchess County, and Hudson Valley arts communities. And it is for this reason and many others that Jordan has been awarded the 2022 Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award for Youth with Exceptional Promise in the Arts.

“It is a wonderful thing, this honor,” Sharley said. “Jordan did not like the spotlight too much. He would shy away from this if he knew he was getting it. This way, we’re able to honor Jordan and the work he was doing and the promise he showed and the exceptional talent he had, in a way, from a distance, where he feels comfortable and he can be recognized and not feel all eyes on him.

“It’s bittersweet, of course. As a mom, I’m proud. I’m proud of Jordan since his first word. I gush about my children all the time.”

Sharley said her three children are neuro-divergent.

“Jordan didn’t have it easy growing up, through school and stuff,” she said. “He was always an amazing student. But with this, I’m just so glad that something he loved so much, and worked very hard at, that other people got to experience that, and will get to know how great he was at it, and how much he loved it as well.”

Sharley said that, because her children are neuro-divergent, the family would opt for visits to museums, aquariums, art galleries and zoos over trips to places like amusement parks, that could be over-stimulating. Sharley also took her children on walks and hikes and strived to immerse them in nature, which in turn led to artistic endeavors that included photography.

“I’m a person who really appreciates nature and being outside and stopping and taking a look at the beauty that is on the planet we live on,” Sharley said. “That was always something I instilled in them. So we spent a lot of time hiking and walking and while we were doing that, it was always, ‘Let’s take a picture of that tree; look how beautiful that bird is.’ And that grew.”

Dating back to when she took her children to the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie, Sharley said, museums and the learning they encourage left a big impression on her family. And the link to the arts resonated in a special way for Jordan.

“The arts are ever-evolving and the arts offer a lot of different experiences, experiences that don’t require words,” Sharley said. “I think that spoke to Jordan, and he also got to express his view of things by taking pictures and editing things.”

All of this speaks to Jordan’s creativity and the way in which his love of the arts will resonate loudly in the regional arts community for many years to come.

“Jordan loved nothing more than film editing,” Sharley said. “I was able to see that grow in him from the ages of 16-17 to 20. I saw my son become more expressive. I saw him smile a lot. Even his style of dress changed and became more refined and more artsy-looking. It was a really great thing and I’m so glad he found that and had that piece of happiness for himself, being a neuro-divergent person in this world, with lots of over-stimulation, to have a place where you feel peace and safe and comfortable.”

Visit thearteffect.org/jordan-jones-scholarship-fund to learn more about The Art Effect’s Jordan Jones Scholarship Fund.

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