Yo-Yo Ma’s Valley visit celebrates regional arts




Yo-Yo Ma’s visit to the Mahoning Valley on Monday will be a full day of culture, entertainment and discussion on how the arts can revitalize the region.

The international classical music icon will perform in a free 45-minute concert featuring members of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra at 6 p.m. at Warren Community Amphitheatre.

But the day will begin with a kick-off celebration at Warren’s Quinby Park from 10 a.m. to noon. The free, family-friendly event will include live music, opportunities to create art and the unveiling of two public art sculptures by Youngstown artist Tony Armeni. Ma will attend the event.

Monday’s events and concert are part of Arts Across America, an initiative of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Aspen Institutes Social Fabric Initiative, and many community organizations.

“This will be the perfect way to kick off Arts Across America in our community,” said Lisa Ramsey, deputy director of Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership. “Our area is rich in local talent and a love for the arts. Art brings people together, and that is something to be celebrated.”

Arts Across America visits selected communities that are committed to using the arts to promote connection, a strong creative economy and increased cultural citizenship.

The Warren-Youngstown area was selected in large part because of the Warren City Schools participation in the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative. It is one of roughly three dozen cities chosen nationwide.

Ma, a globally renowned cellist and humanitarian, serves as the artistic director of Kennedy Center. He will be performing Sunday night at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.

Ma performed in Pittsburgh in June and participated the following day in a similar Arts Across America day in the rebounding nearby city of Braddock, Pa.

The Quinby Park event will include performances from Monument of Faith Angels, Olivia Dunn, the T.C.I.M.A. Community Choir and Men with Skills.

It will be followed by a lunch dialog and strategy session at the Butler Institute of American Art. This will be a private event at which local arts, government, business and civic leaders will discuss strategies to use the arts in the area’s revitalization. David Brooks of the Aspen Institute will attend this event and lead a conversation. Ma will not attend this event, but instead will tour the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center with Judge Theresa Dellick.

Gates will open at 5 p.m. for the evening concert at the amphitheater in downtown Warren. Food trucks and refreshment vendors will be on hand, and local artists will perform prior to the concert.

A community forum will follow the concert at 7 p.m. at the amphitheater, moderated by Deborah F. Rutter, president of Kennedy Center. The panelists will be local leaders Barb Ewing of the Youngstown Business Incubator, William Mullane of the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, and the Rev. Lewis Macklin of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.

The day’s activities will conclude with a dance party at the amphitheater from 8 to 8:30 p.m. with DJ Kick Drum.

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