Relying on the Internet in an Age of Uncertainty
The McDonough Museum has been dealing with repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic since early March. Youngstown State University declared that all campus events would be canceled until April 1. For the museum that meant calling off musical performances, a film screening, poetry writing workshops, a poetry reading and the opening of our annual juried student exhibition. Along with everyone else, as the days and weeks passed, we were poised in wait-and-see mode, hoping that our cancelations would only be postponements.
Soon our cancelations extended through the end of the semester, taking with them the BFA/MFA exhibitions. Thrown into high gear to develop a new plan for this much anticipated event, the museum staff researched alternatives until a clear solution emerged. We are in the process of creating a digital catalog accessible from our website, producing a print catalog for the students to keep, and taking advantage of our social distance gallery on Instagram to reach a broader audience. Our MFA graduate will showcase her work in September in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery housed in our neighboring building, Bliss Hall.
The McDonough locked its doors at 5:00pm on March 19 and, gratefully, we are able to continue working from home. Because the reopening of campus and the museum remains vague, we have had to postpone summer exhibitions, likely for a whole year, and develop a contingency plan in the event that we resume operations in our brick-and-mortar home before August. If we return to the museum by early summer, we will likely be able to provide a proper send-off to our BFA students and host an actual exhibition for those who are still interested in participating.
Alongside the cumulative art world, the McDonough Museum rushed to social media with content to help provide relief from our shelter-in-place situation through beautiful and inspiring imagery. We have been able to adapt our annual juried student exhibition—one of our early cancelations—into SAAVE: Student Art Association Virtual Exhibition. While it is not juried, it still highlights the artistic achievements of YSU Department of Art students and can be found on both the McDonough Facebook and Instagram accounts. Additionally, the museum’s YouTube channel will be host to a project of the Cliffe College of Creative Arts and Communication, titled C3: Cliffe Creative Connections, that features video presentations of the creative endeavors of Department of Art faculty.
SAAVE: STUDENT ART ASSOCIATION VIRTUAL EXHIBITION | ONGOING DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Facebook: McDonough Museum of Art & Instagram: @mcdonough_museum_of_art
C3: CLIFFE CREATIVE CONNECTIONS | ONGOING DIGITAL EXHIBITION: YouTube: McDonough Museum of Art
2020 SPRING GRADUATING BFA EXHIBITION | EARLY MAY 2020 DIGITAL EXHIBITION: Website: mcdonough.ysu.edu & Instagram @gallerysocialdistance
ENIGMATIC REFLECTIONS: DEPARTMENT OF ART FACULTY EXHIBITION, PATRICIA BELLAN-GILLEN | August 28-October 24
YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY
John J. McDonough Museum of Art
525 Wick Avenue
Youngstown, Ohio 44502
Facebook: McDonough Museum of Art
YouTube: McDonough Museum of Art