Alumni art featured in exclusive exhibition

Van Hoose’s paintings are displayed in the President’s Gallery. Photo by Samantha Smith / The Jambar

By Samantha Smith

The President’s Gallery in Tod Hall at Youngstown State University is showcasing artwork from local artist and YSU alum, R. Jason Van Hoose.

Van Hoose is a regional landscape artist from Youngstown. His work features landscape paintings, feelings and cultures of the northeastern and western Ohio regions.

Graduating from YSU in 1993 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting and ceramics, Van Hoose explained the importance of the display for YSU alumni and said the opportunity pushes him to continue to work with the university.

“This gallery is specifically for YSU alumni and it’s a great opportunity. It’s a rare opportunity. This is one of those great reasons why I stay around in Youngstown and I still engage with the university because they provide students and alumni with some really great opportunities that other artists don’t get,” Van Hoose said. 

Ten of Van Hoose’s paintings are featured in the gallery. He said the exhibition couldn’t have happened without Claudia Berlinski, director of McDonough Museum, who saw Van Hooses’ artwork at a local event.

“Last August, I was in a show at the Art House on Elm in Youngstown, just north of campus. The owners invited Claudia Berlinski, the director of the McDonough Museum of Art to the show. She saw my work and asked me to participate in a show that she was hosting at the President’s Gallery at YSU,” Van Hoose said.

Van Hoose’s background in agriculture inspired his artworks. Photo by Samantha Smith / The Jambar

While Van Hoose’s paintings are temporarily a part of YSU, they are not easily accessible to the public, including Van Hoose himself. The President’s Gallery is commonly only accessible to a few individuals. 

“The President’s Gallery is not open to the public, unless a person has business in the President’s Office,” Van Hoose said. “I do many public oriented shows in Columbus and the Youngstown area and it’s nice to have a show that’s exclusive.”

Van Hoose said each painting took different amounts of time to complete. Some paintings were done quickly, while others took years to complete.

“Some paintings go quickly. They just flow. Other paintings are very slow and tedious. [With] some of the paintings in the show, I started working on them seven years ago and I just finished them for the show. A few of the other ones, I just sat down and did them in a few sessions,” Van Hoose said. 

With a background in agriculture, Van Hoose said he feels ties to landscapes, and that the Mahoning Valley offers great resources for inspiration.

“I had a very close tie with the land and I love the beauty of it and spiritual power of the land, so that eventually translated into my artwork,” Van Hoose said. “Youngstown’s been great for me because I have the Butler Institute of American Art and it has all these top tier, fantastic quality landscape paintings on display … I have Mill Creek Park, which is this gorgeous bit of original Ohio landscape.”

Van Hoose also said he is appreciative of the Ohio Arts Council and its support of his career path.

“I would like to thank the Ohio Arts Council for all their support. I could not have gotten as far as I’ve gotten, especially over the past 15 years, without a wide variety of help and support from the Ohio Arts Council,” Van Hoose said. 

For more information about Van Hoose and his artwork, visit his website.