Mall gallery displays McKinley-inspired art

Art inspired by President William McKinley will be featured in an exhibition opening Friday at the Art Outreach Gallery.

About 30 works will be on display created by artists ranging from preschoolers to senior citizens. The exhibit is part of a year-long celebration of the centennial of the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial in Niles, which also is the home of the McKinley Memorial Library.

Library director Michelle Alleman said, “We had a sip ‘n’ paint class for the adults back in the spring and we had a good response. We were thinking of doing another class, maybe something outside, and tying into the centennial.”

Some of the members of the Friends of the Library group also serve on the board for the Art Outreach Gallery, so a meeting was arranged and the idea for an art contest was hatched.

“We’re doing it to help celebrate this historical treasure in the community and to learn more about McKinley,” Alleman said.

Laurie Delucia and Luaren Patton, art teachers from Niles City Schools, will judge the entries by children, and Youngstown artist James Pernotto will judge the adult and senior categories. The winners will be announced during an opening reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. Mike Wilson will portray President McKinley at the reception, which will feature music by the Richie Wilkins Trio and refreshments provided by the Friends of the Library. The show is sponsored by Chemical Bank.

Those attending during the run of the show can vote on the People’s Choice Awards, one for children and one for adults. The winners will be announced during a closing ceremony at 2 p.m. Sept. 23.

“We got a wide range of entries,” Alleman said. “Most are pretty directly related to McKinley … There’s one photograph, but most are paintings or drawings.”

The show will be on display through Sept. 23. Planned during the run of the show is a crochet program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 9 and an informal coloring program from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 16. On display during the crochet program will be a pair of slippers crocheted by McKinley’s wife, Ida.

“She was known for crocheting slippers and donating them to those in need,” Alleman said.