ywca art show

YWCA Opens Art Show to Next Generation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — For the first time in nearly four decades, the YWCA Mahoning Valley opened its Women Artists art show to artists between the ages of 14 and 17, preserving the legacy of the show’s founders.

Nancy Morris and Eileen Scragg started Women Artists: A Celebration 36 years ago in an effort to showcase the area’s women artists. Since their passing — Scragg died in 1999 and Morris earlier this year — the YWCA has worked to further their goal of benefiting underserved women artists, the community and the organization.

In an effort to encourage future generations to carry on Scragg’s and Morris’ vision, this year the YWCA opened the show to younger talent with “17 Under 17” – a category for artists 14 to 17 years old, said Molly Toth, public relations manager for the YWCA.

“Our goal is to grow the show and attract new artists,” Toth said. “Starting last year we have lowered the costs of submitting to help create access for 18- to 25-year-olds. We do have younger women submitting this year.”

The YWCA’s art committee wants young artists to have the experience of coming to the opening night preview party and seeing their work hanging on the wall, Toth said.

“Committee members made some inroads with a few art teachers in the area and got their girls to submit their work,” she said.

The YWCA received 22 works from 14 girls for the 17 Under 17 category. This year’s juror, Claudia Berlinski, chose 17 works from 12 artists to be featured at the event. Berlinski is assistant professor of art at Youngstown State University.

Submissions to the 17 Under 17 include two-dimensional work and three-dimensional works, including painting, drawing, graphics, photography, fiber, metal and digital art. One $25 Best of Show award will be presented.

“This year we are trying to mimic the ‘young’ part of the YWCA to get younger women involved,” said Betsy Ford, co-chair of the YWCA art committee. “We thought the best way to do that would be to have a specific category for them.”

In addition to 17 Under 17, Women Artists: A Celebration features 73 artists over the age of 18 with 126 selected works on display. Some of the submissions are from regional artists, while the vast majority are local. Artists can sell their works at the show with the YWCA making a 25% commission on each work sold.

There is $2,500 in award money for artists in a variety of media including watercolors, ceramics, photography and pastels.

Women Artists is open to the public and runs from June 30 through July 27 from noon to 4 p.m. The show is closed July 4, as well as all Mondays and Tuesdays. Show time is extended to 7 p.m. on July 10, 18 and 24.

An event preview, dubbed the Celebration Party, is scheduled for June 29 from 6 p.m. to 9. Tickets for the preview are $40.

“Attendance for the preview is typically around 125 people,” said Toth. “Four-hundred or more will visit the show to view the artwork or participate in the Art Series that runs through the month of July.”

At the end of the show, the public is invited to vote for the People’s Choice Awards, Toth said.

Veteran committee members like Terri Madden, who has been with the show since its beginning, bring a sense of history in their own works.

“Every painting that has ever hung in this show has come through Terri Madden,” Ford said. “What these women gave to the community when they started this show is amazing.”

This year, Madden is submitting a piece called “Morning Sunshine.”

“When I began I used to do commissioned portraits, but stopped due to vision problems,” Madden said.


Pictured: Terri Madden with her painting “Morning Sunshine.”

She admits that she has made more money by selling miniature paintings than larger pieces. Miniatures are 25-inch square paintings with the head size for portraits being just an inch and a half.

“Miniatures go back a couple thousand years,” said Jeania Gordon, art show committee member. “Miniatures were basically put out of business by photography. They were the same category as little portraits used in jewelry lockets.”

The art series includes Sip and Paint with artist Suzanne Anzelloti, literary readings by Lit Youngstown and a screen printing workshop with local artists Heather Seno and Stephen Blair.

“We received sponsorship support for the show from Farmers Trust, Frank and Pearl Gelbman Charitable Foundation, Leah Meritt, Holly Morris (niece of show founder Nancy Morris), Oak Hill Collaborative and an anonymous donor,” said Toth.

Ford said that the show serves the purpose of showcasing women artists and supports the YWCA and supports the local community.

“It’s a great thing to sponsor and donate to. We could always use more prize money,” she said.

Pictured above: Rachel Marchese and her hand-made ceramic pottery.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.