Butler Institute of American Art

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The Butler Institute of American Art, located on Wick Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio, United States, was the first museum dedicated exclusively to American art. Established by local industrialist and philanthropist Joseph G. Butler, Jr., the museum has been operating pro bono since 1919. Dedicated in 1919, the original structure is a McKim, Mead and White architectural masterpiece listed on the National Register of Historic Places . Prior to 2007, the most celebrated work in the Butler's permanent collection was Winslow Homer's Snap the Whip, a famed tribute to the era of the one-room schoolhouse. In 2007, however, the museum acquired the Norman Rockwell painting Lincoln the Railsplitter for $1.6 million. The previous owner of the 84.5 by 44.5 inch painting was businessman and former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Other aspects of the nation's past are captured in a unique collection of paintings featuring southwestern Native Americans, which were once part of Joseph Butler's personal collection. Additional highlights include an iconic depiction of George Washington's wedding, William Gropper's celebrated Youngstown Strike, an interpretation of the area's violent 1937 Little Steel Strike, and Albert Bierstadt's 'Oregon Trail, 1869 . Meanwhile, the gallery of modern art features a striking, life-sized painting by Alfred Leslie titled, Americans: Youngstown, Ohio, which depicts personalities connected to the Butler as they appeared in the 1970s. In recent years, the Butler has expanded significantly. A 19,000-square-foot (1,800 m 2) south wing, the Beecher Center, was constructed in conjunction with Youngstown State University in 2000 with a focus of uniting technology and art. Two years later, the 3,400-square-foot (320 m 2) Andrews Pavilion, featuring a sculpture atrium, gift shop, and café, was added to the rear of the facility. In 2006, the Butler purchased the neighboring First Christian Church facility and converted it into an education and performing arts center.

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