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The Columbus Foundation Awards Grant to Preserve Aminah Robinson’s Home

Grant supports work to transform home into artist residency space and caps Foundations 75th anniversary

Columbus, OH (January 23, 2020)—The Columbus Foundation today announced a grant to ensure the home of iconic Columbus artist Aminah Robinson will serve as a place to nurture and inspire future generations of artists.

Columbus Foundation’s President and CEO Douglas F. Kridler announced the $200,000 grant to the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), which is overseeing the restoration project, at its annual event celebrating “Columbus’ True Originals”.

CMA, which was the primary beneficiary of Robinson’s estate, including her home, upon her passing in 2015, last month launched a partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) to preserve her home as the future site for artist residencies.

The Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Residency will be awarded annually to an African American professional visual artist and will include a stipend as well as space to live and work in the soon-to-be restored home.

“We are excited to close out The Columbus Foundation’s 75th anniversary with this investment in Aminah Robinson’s legacy of care and respect for our community,” said Kridler. “Aminah created extraordinary work to celebrate the Foundation’s 50th anniversary, so it feels great to be able to turn around a generation later and make this investment in her living legacy and in the neighborhood in which she lived and worked.”

(l-r): Dwight E. Smith, Mark Corna, Deidre Hamlar, Larry James, Nanette Maciejunes, Tom Katzenmeyer, Dr. Wayne Lawson, Carole Genshaft.

Robinson was born in Columbus, and from a very young age, knew she wanted to be an artist. Her work, from sculptures and paintings to drawings and books, depict her love and respect for family and community. According to her website, “her art is grounded in her belief in the African concept of Sankofa, learning from the past in order to move forward.” A worldwide traveler, Robinson’s journeys resulted in a series of art that often included a RagGonNon, a large and complex work of art that is often on cloth encrusted with buttons, beads, and other found objects.

In 2004, Robinson was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, given to "talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction."

Her work is showcased in private collections and has been featured in museums including the Columbus Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Newark Museum.

“It was a privilege to be part of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s life and to witness her growth as an artist. Aminah’s legacy will be one of enriching our community, our museum, and our world,” said Nannette Maciejunes, Executive Director of CMA. “There is no better way to honor her legacy, and who she was as a person and as an artist, than by turning her home into a place that will inspire and nurture generations of African American artists.

The Museum’s stewardship of Aminah’s estate and home ensures that her body of work both celebrates and transcends the stories of Columbus and resonates with communities everywhere.” 

Leading the fundraising efforts for CMA was Larry James, former leader of the King Arts Complex and current partner at Crabbe, Brown, & James LLP.

“It speaks to the integrity and commitment of the Columbus arts community and The Columbus Foundation for their commitment that future generations will share,” said James. “Aminah spoke to the world in a way that celebrates our humanity. We celebrate the iconic Ms. Robinson with reverence and pride.”

About The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation serves nearly 3,000 individuals, families, and businesses that have created unique funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. The Columbus Foundation is Your Trusted Philanthropic Advisor® and one of the top 10 largest community foundations in the United States.

January 23, 2020