The Butler Young Collectors Group

By Marah J. Morrison

The Butler Young Collectors Group featured exhibitions, music and special guest speakers on Feb. 16. The featured guest speaker was Jeff Byce, an auctioneer and appraiser.

Louis Zona, executive director of the Butler Institute of American Art, Rebecca Davis, development director of the Butler and the Butler Board of Trustees coordinated the event. She said the event is always an opportunity for students to visit the museum for the very first time.

“Part of my job was to help create this group,” Davis said. “In order to do that I have been getting myself out there, getting to meet the younger people in the community and I’ve gotten to make some fantastic friends.”

Zona said the event provided the opportunity for young professionals to experience the art world from different vantage points.

“Not only will they come away with a deeper appreciation of art, but young professionals will also discover the joy in collecting beautiful things for enjoyment as well as for investment,” Zona said. “The Butler is most proud of this program.”

Colleen George, an assistant to the development director, said the event’s goal has been to reach a younger demographic and to encourage them to visit the museum.

“So far there is an interest in a lot of the responses from surveys that we’ve done,” George said. “They have said there is a need for something like this and it’s about time to do something like this.”

George also said it’s exciting to have new events at the museum that people can participate in who had no affiliation or direct interest before. YSU students have participated in this program as well.

“This event for me has been a beneficial experience,” George said. “I know something as an undergraduate who has studied fine art here at Youngstown State University. There was nothing like this to participate in.”

George also said she thinks when a student is looking for academic events, groups or memberships to be affiliated with, they want to look to professional institutions to provide them without necessarily having a direct academic need.

“It’s something that you can network and grow with a different type of community that you maybe aren’t experienced with or that you haven’t been introduced to,” George said.

Plans are being made to continue this event in the future and has received sponsorship through the PNC Foundation and is supported by the board of trustees at the Butler.