Claudia Berlinski Named Art Coordinator at McDonough

By John Stran

The John J. McDonough Museum of Art on Wick Avenue made a leadership change during the summer.

Leslie Brothers, the art director of the museum, stepped down in May after 17 years to pursue the art director position at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University.

Brothers said the new position puts her in a great place that provides her a lot of opportunities and support.

“This is a very exciting time to be working in a museum within a major urban research institution committed to diversity, equity. Community, creation and transfer of new knowledge,” Brothers said in an article with Artforum.

As Brothers left the McDonough, so did the art director position. It was replaced with an art coordinator position, which has been filled by Claudia Berlinski.

Berlinski has been at Youngstown State University for 18 years where she has served as a professor, foundation program coordinator and assistant to the chair in the art department.

Joy Christiansen Erb, chair and associate professor of the Youngstown State University Department of Art, described Berlinski as the perfect fit.

“She’s not only a dedicated educator but also a talented artist with experience in arts administration and curatorial work,” Erb said.

Berlinski is expected to bring a better connection between the McDonough and the art department.

“Having a faculty member from the Department of Art serve as the museum coordinator only strengthens the relationship between both parties,” Erb said. “This merger will allow for museum programming to support the academic mission of the department, as well as enhance the relationship between the museum and the broader community.”

The McDonough’s new mission statement also reflects a yearning to build a relationship saying, in part, the mission of the museum reinforces the mission of the College of Creative Arts and Communication.

For Berlinski, the transition means she’ll be cutting back on her other titles; teaching fewer classes in her drawing and 2-D foundations field and stepping away from the assistant to the chair and foundations program coordinator positions.

Berlinski said she applied to the position because she believed she met the requirements of the job, including demonstrated record of successful art related administration and the ability to collaborate on campus and in the community.

“The title of coordinator was the best fit for my position and aligned itself more with titles I’ve had with other similar positions at YSU,” she said.

Even with Berlinski’s qualifications, she said she knows there’s still room to grow.

“I’m still learning the ropes here at the museum, but I work with a great staff that has many years of experience,” Berlinski said. “It’s been exciting and busy, and I can’t wait to see new things develop.”

The first two exhibitions for the fall semester, Sanctuary and Resort, will be showcased on Sept. 7. Sanctuary deals with climate change and declining biodiversity, while Resort delves into the global refugee crisis.

More information on other exhibitions and events being held at the McDonough Museum can be found at