Columbus philanthropists Donna and Larry James seed new endowment with $25,000 gift
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) is proud to announce the launch of the Aminah Robinson Legacy Endowment and Resource Fund to preserve and promote the groundbreaking artist’s vision for future generations. When Robinson died in 2015, she entrusted her estate, including her studio and home, to the Museum. CMA subsequently established the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project to grow awareness of Robinson’s life and work, ensuring its place in the pantheon of influential 20th- and 21st-century American art.
The new Aminah Robinson Legacy Endowment and Resource Fund ensures the Museum’s ability to continue the critical work established through the Legacy Project and the expansion of Robinson’s national profile. An inaugural gift of $25,000 towards the fund has been given by Donna and Larry James of Columbus. The Museum plans to raise $500,000 over each of the next two years, with a goal to reach $1 million by 2025, the 10th anniversary of Robinson’s death. The funds will support the ongoing care and long-term capital needs of Aminah’s house and studio; Aminah Robinson Residency and Fellowship programs; related exhibitions, publications and public programs; and the development of the new Aminah Robinson Library and Archives to be housed at the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
“We thank Donna and Larry for their leadership in launching this important endowment,” says Deidre Hamlar, director of the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project. “Their meaningful gift helps secure Robinson’s significant work and enables the Museum to continue to share her story and accomplishments with future audiences.”
Successes of the Legacy Project to date include CMA’s organization of the award-winning exhibition and catalog Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals; the renovation and long-term care of the artist’s house and studio; the establishment in 2020 of two national African American artist and writers’ residencies and a local African American artist fellowship in partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council; and the ongoing documentation, conservation and preservation of Robinson’s work and digitalization of her writing and journals.
“The Columbus Museum of Art is committed to the ongoing stewardship of Aminah Robinson’s embracing legacy,” said Museum executive director and CEO Nannette Maciejunes. “As a Columbus native and national treasure, Robinson will always be present in CMA’s galleries, the foremost U.S. destination for visitors to experience her profoundly inspiring work.”
For more information about the Aminah Robinson Legacy Project, including details on how to contribute, please contact Deidre Hamlar, director of Aminah Robinson Legacy Project, or Gabriel Mastin, leadership giving officer, at the Columbus Museum of Art: Deidre.Hamlar@cmaohio.org or Gabriel.Mastin@cmaohio.org.
About Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
Born in 1940, Robinson was raised in Columbus, Ohio, first in Poindexter Village and then in the Shepard neighborhood. She eventually purchased her own home in Shepard in 1974 where she resided for the rest of her life. Throughout her life and career, Robinson documented stories about historic Columbus neighborhoods and her family’s ancestral African roots. Robinson’s diverse body of work is about building bridges and making connections between the past and present, across continents and between the physical and spiritual worlds.
In 2004 Robinson was named a MacArthur Fellow, recognizing her lifetime of art making and its cultural importance. In 2021 Robinson was featured in Overlooked, a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths originally went unreported in the New York Times, and in 2022 she was recognized as a “Great Ohioan” by the Capitol Square Foundation. Robinson’s work has been the subject of several major national exhibitions.