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Butler Institute previews new addition in Youngstown

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Without question the Butler Institute of American Art is one of the valley's crown jewels. And this week the museum is welcoming the public to it's newest addition.

The most visible part of the $1.5-million project is a glass enclosed skywalk, which connects the museum to the Butler North Education Center in the former First Christian Church, which the Butler acquired in 2005.

Visitors use the skywalk to enter the top floor of the education center which has been renovated to create four new gallery spaces.

"We've decided to show a part of the Butler collection that is never seen. These are pieces that have been given to us over time that I think are best called Americana or folk art" said Butler Executive Director Dr. Lou Zona.

Zona says the items will show visitors another aspect of American art.

"Things that are part of the American culture from duck decoys, to glass bells, to small wood carvings" Zona said.

The directors says one of the galleries will be a transitional space, to allow for different exhibitions. 

"Right now there's an exhibition of the works of Gary Erbe, a New Jersey artist who deals in folk art and the traditions of Americana and nostalgia" said Zona. 

This beautiful addition to the Butler experience was funded through contributions from regional companies, foundations and private donors.

It opens to the public September 13th  and as always, admission is free at the Butler.

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