History Center to Display Rayen High School Mural

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The 65-foot long mural designed and installed by the late John Benninger, long-time art teacher at the former Rayen High School, and his students will go on display Friday at the Tyler History Center downtown.

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society said Wednesday that it would hold a press event Friday morning to introduce a newly constructed viewing stand for the mural that adorned the auditorium hallway in the former school on Benita Avenue.

The six-foot high mural was completed in the 1958-59 academic year, according to the announcement. After the school closed, it was removed and cleaned by local artist and conservation specialist Phyllis Beard with financial support from Rayen alumni led by Harry Mays, president of the 1958 class. The mural was then stored before being turned over to the history society several years ago.  In July 2010, the Youngstown Board of Education passed a resolution to permanently loan the mural to the history society.

Last year the mural was sent to the Intermuseum Conservation Association lab in Cleveland for further repair, cleaning and stabilization.

MVHS contracted with Carlo Maggiora, a museum mount builder in Cleveland, to design and construct a viewing stand to hold the mural on two rolls and allow for exhibition of about 11 feet of the canvas on an upright table in the third floor of the Tyler History Center.  The viewing stand was delivered in November, and assembled and completed in December.

Funding for the project came from the Rayen School Alumni, Edward W. Powers Charitable Fund, and the W. E. Bliss Foundation as part of The Campaign for the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center.

The general public can view the Rayen Mural as part of admission to the Tyler History Center.  The History Center is open Tuesday-Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m.  Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and college students, and $2 for children. MVHS members are free.

SOURCE: Mahoning Valley Historical Society

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