Cleveland Arts Prize Inaugurates New Award

As a young woman, Barbara Robinson was already changing the landscape for women and the arts, graduating from Wellesley College with the highest honors, and from the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration in the top two percent of her class.

Her life exemplifies a progressive, unstoppable, and dedicated commitment to arts and culture. Few Americans have been more acknowledged and honored for such works.

The trustees of the Cleveland Arts Prize proudly announce the Barbara S. Robinson Prize for the Advancement of the Arts, to be awarded to an individual for extraordinary commitment to the advancement of the arts through leadership in policy, legislation, arts education and community development.

“The announcement is especially poignant given today’s political climate and funding cuts to the arts,” said CAP Executive Director Alenka Banco. “This decision extends the scope of our awards, addressing a constituency not served by the existing special prizes.”

This is the first special prize named for a living person. “Barbara’s resume is truly incredible,” shared Howard Freedman, CAP chair. “Her advocacy and commitment here and beyond Cleveland have made a huge impact.”

Barbara Robinson has an extraordinary record of leadership in the arts. She served an unprecedented four terms as chair of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. She served a record thirteen years as chair of the Ohio Arts Council, and continues her service as chair emeritus.

Barbara is globally recognized for spearheading state and regional initiatives in international cultural exchange. Since 1988, she has negotiated agreements with thirteen countries, organizing exchanges in all art disciplines, professional and technical development, educational outreach and academic curriculum development.

At home, she was co-chair of the Cuyahoga County Arts and Culture Action Committee, which led the campaign for the county’s first-ever tax levy in support of the arts.

Barbara was a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers and the Advisory Council of the US Department of Education. She chaired the board of Cleveland Institute of Music and the Government Relations Committee of the Cleveland Orchestra. She was director of Americans for Arts and chair of the Cleveland Arts Prize.

Her achievements, awards and honors are innumerable.

Mrs. Robinson has had significant experience in arts management, business administration, and as a performing artist.  She was a piano soloist with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Mrs. Robinson has received the Ohio Governor’s Awards for the Arts, University Hospitals’ Samuel Mather Visionary Award, an honorary doctorate in musical arts from the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Bravo! Award for Support of the Arts in Ohio and the Cleveland Arts Prize Special Citation for Distinguished Service to the Arts.

A special event in honor of Mrs. Robinson will be held in June at the Cleveland Institute of Music. For complete details visit

Cleveland Arts Prize

P.O. Box 21126

Cleveland, Ohio 44121