Mad About the Arts Celebrates 20 Years with Style

By Gabrielle Fellows

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Photo Courtesy of the McDonough Art Museum.

Members of the art and music communities gathered in the McDonough Museum of Art, sharing in music, food and company in the third week of February in 1995. Flash forward to 2015, and Mad About the Arts is commemorating its 20th year of fun and service with a party unlike any seen prior.

For this year’s Mad About the Arts, the event will be held in Stambaugh Auditorium instead of in the McDonough Museum, where it had been held every year since its conception.

Classical music station WYSU 88.5 FM and the McDonough Museum have been partnering for many years to host this celebratory fundraising event for local art and music. Tricia Perry, the fundraising officer at WYSU, said that she believes this year’s Mad About the Arts will be as much fun as it is beneficial for the parties that the fundraiser benefits.

“It’s unusual for fundraising events to go on this long, usually after three to five years, it’s expected to change — this is Mad About the Arts’ 20th year. What we’re doing, people are interested in,” Perry said. “We have different music and different art each time. This year we’re doing jazz ensembles and a dance band for the end of the night. Usually, since the party is at the McDonough, there is art up that attendees can view, but since this year its being held at Stambaugh, there will be videos displaying WYSU and the McDonough over the years. … We wanted this year to feel like a gala, something special to celebrate 20 years of this.”

Tickets for the event are $80 and include food, beverages and entertainment. Youngstown State University faculty, students, staff, graduates of fine and performing arts and members of the McDonough Museum and/or WYSU can purchase tickets for $60. The proceeds from the ticket sales benefit the McDonough Museum and WYSU.

Leslie Brothers, director at the McDonough Museum of Art, said that there is an undeniable appeal with Mad About the Arts — one that not only provides entertainment for the community, but also benefits Youngstown, its residents and its students.

“The event is never quite the same twice. … This has appeal. Mad About the Arts is a benefit for the McDonough Museum and WYSU. Both institutions are part of YSU and benefit the community directly through their programs and outreach. Both the McDonough Museum of Art, YSU’s Center for Contemporary Art and WYSU 88.5 FM are dependent on outside support to fund their programs,” Brothers said. “Last summer, for example, the McDonough Museum and WYSU used funds raised through MAD 2014 to bring StoryCorps to Youngstown and record 30 conversations with 60 community leaders to be archived in the Library of Congress. Voices of the Valley would never have happened without the success of our benefit, Mad About the Arts.”

Mad About the Arts 2015 is taking place Feb. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets will still be available for purchase online and at the Stambaugh ticket counter, check only, through the night of the event. More information can be found at both the McDonough Museum and WYSU’s websites.