Artist Ron Donoughe visits Cal U to speak to students about 'Brownsville to Braddock: Paintings of the Monongahela Valley.'
A COVID-delayed but much anticipated exhibit featuring outdoor landscapes is ready for viewing at California University of Pennsylvania.
“Brownsville to Braddock: Paintings of the Monongahela Valley,” a series of landscapes from Pittsburgh artist Ron Donoughe, will be open to the public Nov. 8 through Dec. 3 in the third floor gallery of Manderino Library. Admission is free; masks are required.
It was originally scheduled to open at Cal U in spring 2020.
“Thank you for persevering,” said interim University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson at a reception for the artist on Nov. 4. “We are pleased to have this exhibit at Cal U and to celebrate the importance of the arts.”
Donoughe, who often paints outdoors in the plein air style, visited campus to meet with students and give a gallery talk prior to the reception.
“I’m from Cambria County originally, and I didn’t know much about the Mon Valley before I started this project,” he said. “I wanted to physically go to these places so that I could learn more about them.”
Beginning in January 2019, Donoughe painted once a week for a year, capturing steel mills; a cemetery; houses of all shapes, conditions and sizes; boats at a dock; the caboose at California Public Library; a coaster at Kennywood and more.
Often, residents of a community, intrigued by an artist working in their midst, would stop to share their stories.
“I sometimes felt like the spirit of their stories would come out of my arm and onto the painting,” Donoughe said as he spoke to students in Dr. Christina Fisanick’s digital storytelling class.
In Vulcan Hall, he spoke to students studying art and art history and reviewed some of their work.
“I want to ask him so many questions!” said senior art major Carly Fuga. “I’d like to know more about working at a gallery, or a museum. Seeing how he works is very, very cool. It’s inspiring as I think about what I’m going to do.”
Mark Pawelec, a 1981 Cal U graduate and volunteer at the Donora Historical Society, was one of the first members of the public to see the exhibition.
“I found the angles and subjects that he painted in Donora to be interesting,” he said. “It’s fascinating to see the direction he chose to go. Some paintings are sad, but some are cheerful. It’s easy to see the bad things in the Mon Valley, but there are good things here, too, that are worth finding.”