McDonough Museum stages multi-venue ‘Living as Form’ exhibit across Valley

The McDonough Museum is bringing “Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)” to the Mahoning Valley this month as part of a multi-venue, multiple-subject exhibition. The exhibit occurs from Sept. 14 through Nov. 9 and opens with a reception from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at the Youngstown Business Incubator, 241 W. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown.

Curated by Nato Thompson and co-organized with Creative Time, “Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)“ is an unprecedented, international project exploring over 20 years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and community engagement.

In collaboration with 25 curators from around the world, Thompson has selected 50 projects as the foundation of this exhibition, which will expand as it travels. New additions will be selected by each host institution, increasing the diversity of works made in the last 20 years that are represented in the show.

Circulating via hard drive, on which the new projects will be uploaded, “Living as Form” will provide a broad look at a vast array of socially engaged practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art. In addition to expanding the content of the exhibition, each host institution will organize site-specific, socially engaged, commissioned projects or events that connect to the theme and “activate” the show.

Locally, collaborating host venues include The Lemon Grove, The Green Team of Mahoning County, The Center for Working Class Studies, Trumbull Art Gallery, Youngstown Business Incubator Gallery (on Federal Street), Fellows Riverside Gardens, The Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, Cedars Lounge, OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center, YSU-SMARTS Center,Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and The Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)” Youngstown Projects include:

“Community Conscience: A Mural Project” for the Juvenile Justice Center of Mahoning County. A collaboration with the JJC, McDonough Museum of Art and Youngstown State University’s Department of Art. The project includes four murals designed for the walls of the county’s juvenile courtrooms and hearing offices, along with a billboard. The murals depict themes of community, social justice, respect for the rights of individuals, the institutions that protect those rights and related themes.

“Dreaming Youngstown: An Open Library of Possibilities” brings together people from all walks of life to collectively dream and envision the kinds of interactions, services, physical structures, and experiences people of Youngstown want in their lives. Any idea within the repository of dreams may be reworked into a new idea, vision or project, and put into action by anyone. The aim is not to develop a plan, but rather to create a wide span of possibilities, so that when opportunities come, there are many options on the table. Free public bus tours highlighting ideas from the library will take place from from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, Saturday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 20. To RSVP and reserve your spot on the bus, visit

“MYTOWN, understanding how place matters to local youth a photo project” – An Ursuline Sisters program brought together 13 middle and high school students this summer. Participants worked with an experienced photographer, youth educators, museum staff and community thinkers and doers. “MYTOWN,” the exhibition, ran Aug. 11-25 at the McDonough Museum and will travel to the SMARTS Center, 258 W. Federal St. in downtown Youngstown from Sept. 14-Nov. 9. This project will continue with a new group of youth as a SMARTS class that will give more students the opportunity to participate. This class will culminate in an exhibit of these students’ work this fall. For more information on SMARTS, our community art school, call 330-941-2787. In addition, billboards are on view throughout September, located at 1429 South Ave., 3129 South Ave. and 2715 South Ave. in Youngsotwn. This project was supported by a grant from The Raymond John Wean Foundation.

“Youngstown Complaints Choir” – Youngstowners of all ages are invited to join the Youngstown Complaints Choir at the McDonough Museum of Art. The Youngstown Complaints Choir – part of an international movement of complaints choirs ( – aims to engage people in discussion about issues ranging from the personal to the communal, the local to the global through song. For information, visit

“Beads for Trees” at Fellows Riverside Gardens, with Ed Hallahan, is an interactive bead stringing workshop to decorate and honor trees at Fellows Riverside Garden.

“Witness 4 by Redhand” is about the memory of buildings and site location. It is also about the returning of the image of the building and site to the earth thereby grounding the image and recognizing a larger cyclical time/space event.

“Celebration of Life: Images of Trumbull Traditions Revisited” is hosted by the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County at The Raymond John Wean Foundation.

Roots of the exhibit – “Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)” is the flexible, expanding iteration of “Living as Form,” an exhibition curated by Thompson and presented by Creative Time in the fall of 2011 in New York City. Lead project support for the original Living as Form exhibition was provided by the Annenberg Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Danish Consulate, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mondriaan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Additional support for “Living as Form (The Nomadic Version)“ was provided by the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation; and the ICI Board of Trustees.

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program locally to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment in Ohio.

© 2012 The Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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