Ron Donoughe, a Pittsburgh artist known for his realistic landscape paintings, will bring his latest work to Cal U this spring.

Brownsville to Braddock: Paintings of the Monongahela Valley will be on display in the third floor gallery of Manderino Library from April 1-May 8. A reception with the artist is scheduled April 16 in the gallery.

The exhibit is the result of a collaboration among Cal U, Touchstone Center for Crafts in Farmington,Pa., where Donoughe has taught classes, and the Mon River Towns Program, which provides funding to promote towns along the Monongahela River as regional assets.

Donoughe is known for his 90Pittsburgh Neighborhoods series, which was acquired by the SenatorJohn Heinz History Center.

A yearlong series on the industrial heritage of the Mon Valley was a natural follow-up.

He has explored towns such asBrownsville, California, Charleroi, Monessen, Monongahela, Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport and Braddock, as well as the river itself.

“Brownsville to Braddock is such an interesting stretch of the river, because it has such a rich industrial heritage that hasn’t been captured before,” Donoughe says.

“I wanted to bring attention to an area that doesn’t get a lot.”

Donoughe is known as a plein air painter, meaning he leaves the four walls of a studio and creates his pieces on-site. The 12-month project began in January 2019 and will finish with roughly 60 pieces, each on a 12- by 16-inch canvas.

One of them shows the familiar bend in the Mon that is home to Cal U.

“I painted that after a meeting on campus about the exhibit,” Donoughe says. “Being on-site gives me a spirit of place.

“When I look at something directly for hours, I absorb a spirit of place and time, light and shadow, all the things you can’t get when you paint from a photograph.”

Associate professor Maggy Aston says having Donoughe’s work atCal U will benefit her art students.

The artist will give a gallery talk on Earth Day, April 22, as part of the University’s Art and Design Lecture Series. An outdoor painting event and a student art show are being planned for Earth Day, and regional high school students, local artists and community members will be invited to set
up easels and paint campus scenes.

Aston says hearing from Donoughe and seeing some of his work will inspire students who are considering art as a career.

“It’s really important for our students to see someone who is a professional working artist, who earns a living by painting,” she says.

“He is from this area, and he is making a living in this area. There’s no reason why our students, who are very skilled, can’t do that. What they sometimes lack is the confidence that they can.”


Brownsville to Braddock: Paintings of the Monongahela Valley will be on display April 1 - May 8 in the third floor gallery in Manderino Library. The public is welcome to visit. Special events are planned, including a reception with Pittsburgh artist Ron Donoughe from 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 16 in the gallery. For details about gallery hours, special events Earth Day events and more, check in this spring at