Art, standup comedy combine for event

Collaboration set to inspire and act goofy

Art can spark many reactions.

An exhibition Friday at Art on Park is hoping to inspire laughter.

“Comedy and Art” is a collaboration between the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County and Comedians of Local Interest, a coalition of area standup comedians. The event will feature an art show for which artists were encouraged to create work inspired by the question “What is comedy and humor in this day and age of outrage?,” as well as a standup comedy show in Art on Park’s upstairs gallery.

FACT Director James Shuttic said, “Carlos Rivera is an artist in Youngstown who’s been in some of our shows in the past. He’s also involved with Comedians of Local Interest and does standup as well. He really likes the space upstairs and approached us about wanting to bring some of the Youngstown comedians to a venue in downtown Warren. We talked about maybe having it coincide with an art opportunity, so we might as well try to do a tie-in with comedy and art.”

Rivera said the idea of the intersection between comedy and art came with the controversy surrounding the photograph of comedian Kathy Griffin holding the severed head of President Donald J. Trump.

“I personally didn’t find it funny, but I wasn’t outraged by it either,” Rivera said.

Despite that inspiration, Shuttic said most of the work submitted for the show avoided political topics.

“It’s more the goofy and strange and kind of out-there stuff,” he said. “I thought for sure there’d be a lot more political pieces.”

Participating artists will include Josh Kronauer, Johnathan Ruple, Shannon Fee, Dave Karr, David Wheeler, Scott Taylor, R. Johns, Josh Ford, Ginny Taylor, Terry Polonsky, David Stevenson, Trisha Mullen, Pete Vouvounas, Jessica Oswald, Shuttic and Rivera.

The comedy show starting at 8 p.m. Friday may be more political in the tiny performance space. Rivera will serve as host / emcee with sets by Becky Miller, Jenna Cintavey and Vaughn Wesley.

“It’s going to be very intimate,” Rivera said. “It’s going to be in your face. When I put the word out out, I said I wanted it to be a little bit edgy. Try not to hold anything back. We’ll see what they come up with.”