A Columbus-born artist’s legacy will live on through Black artists living in her own home.
The Columbus Museum of Art is hosting a housewarming event Friday at the former residence of Aminah Robinson, an artist from Columbus who died in 2015. The housewarming follows renovations completed in Robinson’s home as a part of the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Legacy Project, an effort created by the Columbus Museum of Art which seeks to preserve and present her work, according to its website.
The project includes the Aminah Robinson Fellowship and Residency program, both given annually to Black artists. The residency was created by the museum in partnership with the Greater Columbus Arts Council with the goal of nurturing emerging and established Black artists in Robinson’s home, Melissa Ferguson, director of marketing and communications at the art museum, said. The resident will stay in Robinson’s home and have access to her home studio, according to the Columbus Museum of Art’s website.
“Aminah Robinson is someone that many of us at the museum knew and loved,” Ferguson said. “This project is something that is very important to both the museum, the Arts Council, and the Columbus community.”
Robinson not only received the MacArthur Fellowship in 2004 — which is given to people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations and includes a $625,000 stipend, according to the fellowship’s website — but Robinson was also able to leave her impression on the youth in Columbus during her lifetime. She worked with Columbus Public Library, Columbus Parks and Recreation and was an art instructor. Her love for the community is depicted in her book “A Street Called Home,” which depicts her life and the people who lived in her community of Poindexter Village in East Columbus, Lyn Logan-Grimes, friend and mentee of Robinson, said.
Logan-Grimes said that Robinson would use household items, materials or anything at her disposal to create her artwork. Her work included rag paintings, paintings on cloth and sculptures made from “Hogmawg,” made up of mud, sticks and glue, according to the Columbus Museum of Art’s website.
“I remember at one point, she was using her own hair in her pieces,” Logan-Grimes said. “She’s a creative and she was willing to experiment and use whatever materials were available to her.”
Logan-Grimes believes that Robinson’s greatest characteristic was her authenticity.
“Her authenticity was her gift, and to me that’s what drew people to her. And I would hope that other artists, especially young artists, would understand that it’s okay to be you and to be authentic in your work,” Logan-Grimes said. “Be okay with yourself.”
Ferguson said that a virtual tour of Robinson’s home will be available on the Columbus Museum of Art’s website next week for anyone who is unavailable to attend Friday’s event.
The event is from 3-4 p.m. and will include various speakers as well as a tour of Robinson’s home. A livestream of the event will take place on the Columbus Museum of Art’s YouTube channel, Ferguson said. Those interested can RSVP here.