McDonough Museum Celebrates 25 Years of a Legacy

By Gabe Garcia 

On Oct. 26, 1991, the McDonough Museum of Art opened its doors for the very first time with an exhibit featuring paintings by American artists Robert Henri, Maurice Prendergast, George Bellows, Ernest Lawson and John Singer Sargent. Now, 25 years later, the same museum will hope to honor the late John J. McDonough with another exhibit titled “Tastemakers, A Progress of Love.”

The McDonough Museum will hold the opening reception for Tastemakers on Friday, Sept. 9 from 5 to 7 p.m. and will have the exhibit on display until Oct. 21.

Leslie Brothers, director of the McDonough Museum, said that the show is an opportunity to see excellent art.

“It’s a beautiful show,” Brothers said. “There are interesting and wonderful stories as well as a great opportunity to see works of art that are rarely on view to the public.”

There will be a grand total of 76 pieces in the exhibition, a mixture of paintings and works on paper with dates ranging from the 19th to the 21st century, all done by American artists.

Brothers said that the exhibit is meant to pay tribute to the importance of private art collecting and highlight its roles in preserving history.

“There is so much to say about collecting art. Its value throughout history and what it means for us today in a time when the limits of what art is often defy our ability to possess it,” Brothers said. “This level of intimacy, this progress of love is shared by the lenders to the exhibition and conveyed through the artworks in the galleries.”

Louis Zona, the executive director and chief curator of the Butler Institute of American Art, said the McDonough Museum isn’t the only institute of art excited about this upcoming project.

“Museums attempt to assist one another in putting together exhibitions,” Zona said. “We will lend works to one another to make [certain exhibitions] possible.”

The works of art being displayed in Tastemakers were once pieces donated to the Butler Institute by McDonough’s private collection years ago.

“The exhibit pays homage to one of America’s best known collectors of American art,” Zona said.

When asked about the exhibit, Phyllis M. Paul, dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication, said that Tastemakers paid homage to the large contributions the McDonough family gave to the Mahoning Valley

“We are grateful to the many local collectors who have graciously agreed to include portions of their collections in the exhibition and also to the Butler Institute of American Art for their generous collaboration,” Paul said. “A special thank you to Leslie Brothers and her outstanding staff for the vision and dedication to bring this marvelous event to the YSU campus.”

The lenders to the exhibit are but not limited to: Louis Zona, Elfi Bulkley, Stephen and Ginny Meloy, Joseph W. and Angela M. Kunze, Albert and Suzanne Cinelli, Paul and Sally Dutton, Joseph B. Kope, Paul and Katherine Ricciuti, Kennth and Mary Ellen Lloyd, Carole G. McDonough, Kay Franko and Robert and Angela Gilliland.

To learn out more about this upcoming exhibit go to