Our Towns

Trumbull Art Gallery Marks 60 Years with Exhibition

WARREN, Ohio — It’s a balmy Friday afternoon and the Trumbull Art Gallery is filled with students from Lakeview Schools. They file in with their parents to see the showcase that features their works from the past school year.

Outside, across Park Avenue, even more kids are covering the sidewalks with chalk drawings as adults wander around Warren’s Courthouse Square to the dulcet tones of a jazz band playing in the gazebo.

Just south of the central square, in The Shortcut and in Dave Grohl Alley, works put up and sponsored by the gallery are on display as well. Throughout downtown Warren, the artistic talent of Trumbull County residents is on display because of the efforts of the Trumbull Art Gallery.

“I’ve lived here all my life. The quality of life is important to me and that’s why we’ve expanded this,” says TAG Executive Director Pat Galgozy. “Being downtown, we have the Fine Arts Council, the independent galleries, the art hops. … It’s been an important part of [the revitalization]. Everything’s moving and art’s been a part of it.”

Over the past 60 years, the mission of the Trumbull Art Gallery has been to support the arts community in all of its facets. The gallery hosts nine exhibits per year, each showing the work of a featured artist and it has a gift shop where area artists sell their works. And it hosts classes for artists of all ages and skill levels.

Among the teachers (and students) is Edward Jakubik, a retired architect who serves on the gallery board. Currently, he’s teaching a class on painting with alcohol ink, which can give paintings a psychedelic watercolor look.

“It gives a sense of accomplishment and it empowers the creative spirit. [To say,] ‘I’m at the Trumbull Art Gallery. I’ve got art on display,’ gives exposure to the [art] community,” Jakubik says of the gallery. “Kids can come see their artwork on the wall and see it with their parents. That’s good for the spirit.”

The gallery hosts community organizations such as schools, the Veterans Administration, Earth Angel Farm and the Trumbull County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Through an agreement with the Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, artwork students create in the Any Given Child program is displayed at the main branch on Mahoning Avenue.

“We’re here to support the arts and artists in our community. We show their art and sell their art. And it’s all-volunteer organization,” the director says, just as it was when it was founded in 1957 on the other side of Courthouse Square in the log cabin at the corner of Mahoning Avenue and Market Street.

It was created as the Trumbull Artists Guild because the building lacked room to display art, although the organization did host “clothesline shows.” A few years later, the Gillmer House, 720 Mahoning Ave. NW, was donated and became the new home of the guild.

Now with space to display works, the name was changed to Trumbull Art Gallery. Over the years, it relocated to a house on the corner of Pine Avenue and Market Street before finally settling in the heart of downtown once again, at 158 N. Park Ave.

“We’ve built from that log cabin. When we got into the century home, we had space and became a gallery,” Galgozy says. “I’ve been with TAG for 36 years, director for 14 years. My goal has always been to increase what we do here. We’re much busier. We have more foot traffic. We’re doing more things.”

The next step is completing the renovation of the gallery basement, which will double the usable space to more than 8,000 square feet, adding classrooms, workspaces, kilns, a darkroom and a studio for a resident artist, the gallery’s first such position.

“It’s bringing in artists from outside Trumbull County, hopefully nationally. If you’re just getting out of school, you don’t have studio space and it’s difficult to find space with kilns and equipment, see us” says Jesse Wilson, a TAG board member overseeing the final renovation. “Here, we have a place where you can make and show work for six months to a year. And we can teach, have classes and show off [students’] work.”

Work on the space, the TAG Underground, began about 2½ years ago, shortly after Wilson joined. Almost everything had to be cleaned, modernized or replaced. Walls were pressure-washed clean, crumbling ceilings were removed and a sprinkler system installed. Rooms are being added. The final step will be installing an elevator so disabled visitors have access.

“When I first came down here, this was a filthy basement that hadn’t been cleaned in probably a hundred years. There were layers of filth everywhere,” Wilson says. “The archways were blocked in, three rows of bricks deep. Between me and my group, it was probably three weeks of just hitting it with hammers.”

All work in the TAG Underground has been funded by grants and donations, Galgozy notes.

The grand opening for the space was Saturday as TAG will celebrated its diamond anniversary and the opening of the 53rd TAG Annual Exhibition.

The juried show received some 300 entries from artists throughout the region – they must live within 100 miles – and selected works will be on display for about two months.

While the organization’s biggest show features pieces done mostly by experienced artists, it’s still important to include those just getting started, young and old alike. That’s why Trumbull Art Gallery has put as much effort into hosting summer camps for kids and evening art classes for adults as it has hosting professional artists.

“My whole thing is to always have children in here so they never feel intimidated by an art gallery,” Galgozy says. “You can come in here, enjoy the art, enjoy yourself, take some classes and have fun. It’s for any age group.”

By developing the next generation of artists, as TAG has for the past 60 years, it plays a role in ensuring that Warren’s future is successful.

“A community is judged by its artistic creativity. A community that doesn’t have creativity is pretty dead,” Jakubik says.

“The Mahoning Valley is blessed because we have institutions like Youngstown State University, the McDonough Museum, The Butler [Institute of American Art] and, here in Trumbull County, the Trumbull Art Gallery.”

Pictured at top: Pat Galgozy is  director of the Trumbull Art Gallery.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.