About Us


Our Approach

NEXT Best Art is a registered 501 (c)(3) located in Downtown Youngstown. Our vision is to connect artists from around the world to the Youngstown - Warren region, while highlighting the resources available here. Our mission is to facilitate the creation and execution of public art, and to promote local art and artists from every field nationally and globally.

Our Story

NEXT Best Art is the culmination of nearly 40 years of work, going back to 1980 when founder James Pernotto established Best Art Studio, above Silver's Vogue Shop, at the corner of Federal and Phelps. In addition to his own work, Pernotto wanted to share his knowledge and experience locally, and also to  highlight and share the remarkable talent we have in the area with the rest of the world.

After many successful projects and efforts, the work became large enough in scope to become a separate entity. During the mid-2000's, Downtown Youngstown was seeing much new development, and the importance of the role of the arts, and these efforts, was noted as a component of the Youngstown 2010 initiative.

In 2012, the organization became a 501 (c)(3), and began spreading it's efforts. Today, 6 years later, the organization executes multiple projects yearly that provide a tangible impact on the community. NEXT Best is also expanding its board as well as its partner organizations for the second year in a row, and supports the most complete and inclusive community cultural calendar  in the region.

Looking to the future, additional long term goals include the creation of a local artist residency program, for visual and non visual artists; a shared workspace with resources open to the public; educational programming; and of course a rotating gallery space in the heart of Downtown Youngstown.



Our Team

With over 200 years of collective experience in the arts and their support, learn a little bit more about our team members and how they contribute.

James Pernotto



Courtney Waskin

Executive Director


Debra Weaver


Our Friends

If you have enjoyed our events and programming, there are many ways you can help contribute to our cause.