Robin VanLear is a sculptor and performance artist with her own company, Art Acts, which she founded in 1978. She has an MFA from the University of California Santa Barbara. Robin joined the education department of The Cleveland Museum of Art in 1989. In 1990 she designed the first Parade the Circle in preparation for the museum’s 75th anniversary. Robin has been the event’s artistic director throughout its 25-year history. In 1990 she also started the museum’s first “I Madonnari” Chalk Festival and in 1994 initiated the first “Winter Lights” Lantern Festival as part of Holiday CircleFest.
In 1995 the Ohio Arts Council awarded Robin a professional development grant to support her travel to Trinidad & Tobago. Further support for the Parade Circle international exchange program came from OAC in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2002. Parade the Circle has twice been the Northern Ohio Live community event of the year.
In 2001 the Cleveland Arts Prize honored Robin with the Robert P. Bergman award. In the same year the Ohio Arts Council gave Parade the Governor’s Award for Arts Outreach. The first Joseph Piggott award for contributions to the University Circle community was presented to Robin in 2002. She received the Judson Smart Living award in 2007. Robin’s most recent awards include 2010 and 2014 Creative Workforce Fellowships for her work in performance art. This program is administered by The Community Partnership for Arts & Culture and is made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
During her 25 years in Cleveland Robin has designed performances, installations, masks, sets, and costumes for Carousel Theater, The Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Opera on Tour, Cleveland Public Theatre, Dancing Wheels, Groundworks Dance Company, Hathaway Brown School, Lake View Cemetery, the annual Ingenuity Festival, and Playhouse Square. Art Acts performances were twice featured at the Cleveland International Performance Art Festival. Internationally Robin has designed prize winning carnival bands in Great Britain and Trinidad & Tobago.