Late October through early December 1971, the Rainbow Sign featured a series of ink drawings and paintings by artist Rosalind Jeffries, then a professor of art and African and Afro-American Art History at San Jose State.
Originally from Harlem, Jeffries earned her masters in painting from Hunter College before moving to West Africa where she lived for two years, culminating in a one woman show in Abidjon on the Ivory Coast. Upon her return to the states she also held a one woman show at Jackson State College in Mississippi.
“Just like music of our people, so-called jazz, rock, surely gospel, I am moved by rhythm, sounds — repetition of forms and shapes. I see fruitful fertile images multiplying, black crescendos, movement, vibrations, motion, material-spiritual…images on top of images coming forth, being born.”
Oakland Post’s “On the Art Scene,” columnist wrote: “Mrs. Jeffries has used the characteristic features of Black people, the shapes found in African masks, the sounds and movements of jazz and colors of the earth to create a powerful new expression in painting.”
Most of Jeffries masks were sold at the opening and several prominent members of the community bought more than one of them, including, “Assemblyman and Mrs. John Miller, Attorney and Mrs. Tom Berkley, Dr. Carleton Goodlett, and Mrs. Norvell Smith, wife of Merritt College President Dr. Norvell Smith”(Bee).
“Jazz Masks” is one of the earliest exhibits at Rainbow Sign and seems to have been a great success, demonstrating the real demand for Black Arts and culture that Rainbow Sign was meeting.