The Monongahela River Valley in Southwestern Pennsylvania is steeped with a rich industrial history. Starting with iron, brass, tin, and glass production, the river towns—from Brownsville to Braddock—ultimately helped make Pittsburgh the one-time steelmaking capital of the world. With this industrial legacy in mind, artist Ron Donoughe set out to document the small towns in this region, one painting at a time.
Over a twelve-month period, he explored the forgotten towns of Brownsville, California, Donora, Charleroi, Monessen, Monongahela, Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport, Braddock, and the Monongahela River itself. Brownsville to Braddock provides key insight on a forty-mile stretch of river towns. The post-industrial economy led to a decline in manufacturing, and with it, substantial job losses. These towns face many significant challenges, yet there is still beauty to be found. Donoughe finds it as he paints the human spirit through the mills, factories, parks, and homes. The people he meets share their stories of family joy and sorrows, along with a genuine love for the area they call the “Mon Valley.”
Ron Donoughe has been painting and documenting the western Pennsylvania region for the last thirty years. His paintings can be found in the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, the Heinz History Center, the Duquesne Club, the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and numerous corporate and private collections. He has taught painting at LaRoche College, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and at workshops throughout the United States and France. His previous books include 90 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods and Essence of Pittsburgh.