Mount Union to Host Gallery of American Masterworks April 8-13

March 24, 2017

The SepulchreOglethorpeALLIANCE – The University of Mount Union is pleased to announce that it is partnering with The Butler Institute of American Art to bring an exciting and unique opportunity to the Stark County area. With financial support from the Greater Alliance Foundation, Mount Union will host an exhibit of American Masterworks from The Butler Saturday, April 8 – Thursday, April 13 at the University’s Sally Otto Art Gallery in the Giese Center for the Performing Arts. 

The Butler Institute of American Art, founded in 1919, is the first museum in the world dedicated to American art. The institute is located in Youngstown, Ohio and its original building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to its website, The Butler is known worldwide as “America’s Museum.” It hosts nearly 125,000 visitors annually to its numerous galleries. 

The Butler collection includes more than 22,000 individual works of art, 25 of which will make the trip to Stark County to be displayed on Mount Union’s campus. Some of the works featured at the American Masterworks exhibit come from nationally-renowned artists such as: William James Glackens, Benjamin West, Reginald Marsh, Anna Mary (Grandma) Moses, Roy F. (Fox) Lichtenstein and many others.

Lou Zona

As part of the six-day exhibit, Dr. Louis Zona, the executive director of the Butler Institute of American Art and professor emeritus of art history at Youngstown State University, will be a part of two events on April 11. Zona will present Mount Union’s Continued Learning Program (CLP) series at 10:30 a.m. in Presser Recital Hall on the exhibit and his involvement with The Butler. Later that evening at 7 p.m., Zona will hold a gallery talk in the Sally Otto Art Gallery discussing each of the 25 works on display and their cultural significance across the nation, dating back to the early 18th Century. A reception will follow in the gallery after the discussion ends.

“The Butler Institute’s collection is amazing,” said University president Dick Merriman, “and we’re very excited about this unique opportunity to showcase notable works here on our campus.  It’s a wonderful bonus to have the executive director of the Institute come to campus to interpret the works and situate them within both evolving artistic traditions and the development of our country.” 

Zona earned his B.S. in Education from Youngstown University in 1966, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He received his M.S. in Art Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 and earned a Doctor of Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1973. He has been in his role at The Butler since 1982 and is credited with expanding its reach and assisting in opening satellite facilities in Salem and Howland, Ohio.

“The Butler’s collection in Youngstown traces the various developments in the history of American art,” said Carol Opatken, director of the Sally Otto Art Gallery. “The 25 paintings that we’ll have on loan does the same, so it will be an instructive show for our students and just wonderful viewing for everyone. With this exhibit, we hope to continue into a partnership with the Butler and bring more of their collection to the Alliance area.”

“To express appreciation to our donors and many partners in the community, the Greater Alliance Foundation is excited to collaborate with the University of Mount Union to bring this remarkable event to the community,” said Douglas Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Alliance Foundation. “We hope that this is the beginning of a great partnership between The Butler Institute of American Art and the University, in which both students and Stark County residents benefit from this great opportunity.”

The Sally Otto Art Gallery is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. from 5 p.m. There is no admission charge for the exhibit. Financial support is available for schools that wish to bring students to the exhibit. School districts seeking more information on the financial support can call (330) 823-6063.

For more information on the American Masterworks exhibit and other art events taking place on Mount Union’s campus, visit

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