The Influentials: Barbara Robinson

Arts advocate

The arts and the name Barbara Robinson are synonymous. The former chair of the Ohio Arts Council and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, where she coordinated lobbying that helped save the National Endowment for the Arts, is a force on the region’s cultural scene. Aside from being one of the classiest people you’ll ever meet, she’s as generous with her time as she is with her influence. She was a main proponent of Issue 31 — the failed 2004 proposal for a property tax increase to fund the arts in Cuyahoga County. But the push for public arts funding was revived two years later when the Issue 18 campaign (to which Robinson donated $20,000) passed a cigarette tax estimated to collect $19 million this year.
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