KATHRYN EARNHART | The Butler Gallery restoration in progress
The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown is undergoing a major restoration of its historical first floor permanent collection galleries.
With funding from New York City's Henry Luce Foundation, the Institute has begun refurbishment of six of its galleries under the watchful eye of Butler Trustee D. D. Davis.
Gallery restoration includes installing new hardwood flooring and state-of-the-art lighting systems. Also, gallery walls are being cleaned and repaired in these historical spaces. With the first floor north galleries nearly completed, first floor south galleries will undergo restoration in June.
Traveling exhibits: The Butler is scheduledto take works from three centuries of American art history to five prominent museums in a unique exhibition titled "An American Anthem." The exhibition is now on view at the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, Neb., and will be seen at the Lauren Rogers Museum in Laurel, Miss., beginning in July. Other venues for the exhibition are the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Iowa, the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, Tenn. and the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont.
Additionally, the Butler's most famous work, "Snap the Whip" by Winslow Homer, is the centerpiece of an exhibition titled "Winslow Homer and the Critics‚" which is on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, Mo. The show will travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in California this summer and will travel in the fall to the High Museum in Atlanta.
"Snap the Whip" has been seen throughout the world and has been included in exhibitions at many internationally known insititutions including the Louvre in Paris, the Isetan Museum in Tokyo, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and The Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
Displays at home: Although many of the Butler's favorite works are now on tour and some popular galleries are being restored, the Institute has planned some dynamic displays so visitors will have incredible works of art to see and enjoy. Butler galleries now contain wonderful works borrowed from other museums and private collections, some rarely-seen gems from the Butler holdings and recently acquired historical works.
Not to be missed are two paintings of life on the Mississippi by George Caleb Bingham on extended loan from the Nelson-Atkins Museum and a newly acquired oil painting by German-born American artist Herman Ottomar Herzog (1832-1932).
The painting, "Country Cabin, Summer" dates to 1880 and was acquired by the Butler as a gift of the Bresnahan Family Foundation and the Hynes-Finnegan Foundations.
DVD screening: Today at 1 p.m. in the Zona Auditorium of the Butler in Youngstown, there will be a screening of the DVD version of Tony Bennett's "New York." Bennett, born Anthony Benedetto, has not only been one of America's top singing stars for nearly a half century, but is also an accomplished painter whose landscape works are now on view at the Butler Institute's Trumbull branch museum in Howland. This unique 90-minute film features Bennett performing in Atlantic City and in interviews in and around New York, where he maintains a working artist's studio.
Continuing saga: Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. the Butler's showing of the PBS "American Visions" saga continues with the segment, "The Wave from the Atlantic." The film begins with Time magazine art critic Robert Hughes at Immigration Hall on Ellis Island, where massive immigration to the United States was seen in the early decades of the 20th century.
As painters and photographers seek out subjects of the streets, the American Ashcan School is born. Also featured in this one-hour episode are works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe. Other "American Visions" chapters will be seen in the Butler's Zona Auditorium on June 13, 20 and 27 at 1:30 p.m. The series is courtesy of PBS 45/49.
Help wanted: Although the Butler's Summer Arts Day Camp is now filled for the July session, teen-age volunteers are still needed to assist Butler lecturers and instructors with the camp program, which includes activities in music, drama, literature and the visual arts. The Butler summer camp is designed to accommodate children with special needs. To become a camp volunteer contact Mary Alice Grace at 743-1711, extension 114.