TAM: Columbus Museum of Art gives Aminah a Permanent Exhibition Space
Some Aminah news…
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Museum plans space for favorite of storytellers
Sunday, December 03, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
In a year or two, Columbus artist Aminah Robinson will have a second home in her hometown.
The location: the Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. — which plans a center for her art as well as an online feature.
"We think her work is really important to capture and have people respond to," said Carole Genshaft, adjunct curator of education and project leader.
Museum administrators will seek space in their building — existing gallery space, perhaps — for the Robinson center.
"It will be a permanent space," Genshaft said. "Part of it will be to exhibit her art or artists with related subject matter — for example, (Columbus sculptor) Elijah Pierce, who was her mentor."
The center will also have a resource area with reference materials.
The museum plans to develop the space within the next several years.
First up, though, will be the digital project — ready possibly by the end of 2007. It will be linked to the museum’s Internet site.
"Her work, I think, will be a perfect subject for an exciting Web site," Genshaft said. "We get lots of requests from people wanting to know about her."
The site will include examples of her art, biographical information and a virtual tour of her East Side home and studio, along with a section for teachers and a createyour-own-art area.
Robinson, who has lived in Columbus all her life, described herself as "humbly excited" about the idea.
"It’s not about one person," the 66-year-old said. "It’s about a community of people who passed on the stories I am telling today."
A native of the East Side and a graduate of East High School, Robinson attended the Columbus Art School — predecessor of the Columbus College of Art & Design.
She had jobs with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Columbus Recreation and Parks Department before devoting herself completely to her art.
Her work covers a broad territory: traditional painting and drawing; multimedia books; sculptures with features such as music boxes; and massive "RagGon-Nons," or storytelling pieces made from cloth, beads, shells and buttons.
She tells stories of black history, from Africa to Columbus.
The art of Robinson, said Nannette V. Maciejunes, executive director of the museum, is marked by an "everyman’s touch."
"I’ve watched, whenever we’ve done exhibits of Aminah’s work, how people come up, view it and then start talking about their own lives," Maciejunes said. "Her work encourages people to talk about their lives; she’s sort of a touchstone."
Robinson has been championed by the Columbus Museum of Art, which has created several onewoman shows of her work — including "Symphonic Poem: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson" in 2002.
The display has toured to the Brooklyn Museum in New York, the Tacoma (Wash.) Art Museum (now) and the Toledo Museum of Art (Feb. 23 to May 22).
Another exhibition visited Santiago, Chile, in 2004 — the same year that Journeys I and II, a RagGonNon about 30 by 22 feet, was installed at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati.
Also that year, Robinson received a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant of $500,000.
Next year, in July, the Columbus institution will open the new "Along Water Street," in which Robinson combines history and oral stories she heard from an uncle about early black residents near the Scioto River.
The museum, which hasn’t set a budget for its permanent Robinson feature, will soon create an advisory group, Maciejunes said.
"We’ll want some arts people but also people from different parts of the community — some of them already connected to Aminah Robinson and some of them new."