Ashtabula Arts Center welcomes new director

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Lori Robishaw has been named executive director of the Ashtabula Arts Center. She is replacing Beth Koski, who has retired after 28 years at the helm of the Arts Center.

“Beth Koski’s name is synonymous with the Arts Cen-ter” says Judith Robson, president of the Ashtabula Arts Center Board of Trustees. “One cannot think of one without the other. She has been the driving force behind the Arts Center for 28 years, and it would not be the institution it is today without her dedication, commitment and hard work. We will miss her greatly, both personally and professionally, and we wish her a wonderful, well-earned retirement.”

“It's not often that we are fortunate enough to return to our roots and the place that helped us get our start,” Robishaw said. “I am one of those lucky people.

“Because of my experience with the Ashtabula Arts Center and its Straw Hat Theatre as a teenager, I discovered early on that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts. I've spent the last 30 years doing just that, working with extraordinary artists and community leaders throughout the country.”

Originally from Kingsville, Robishaw is a graduate of Edgewood Senior High School and has a bachelor of arts in theatre from The Ohio State University and an masters in fine arts in theater management from Yale University.

Robishaw has nearly 30 years of arts management and fundraising experience, according to an Arts Center press release. She began her career in the arts during college summers with the Arts Center’s Straw Hat Theatre and dance classes at the Arts Center.

She has spent the last several years as a nonprofit management consultant, most recently helping to launch the newly created South-eastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition in New London, Connect-icut. Prior to that, she spent five years working in a senior staff communications position at Ohio State after having lived in Washington, D.C., where she headed the communications office for Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

Robishaw was a founder of CATCO, Columbus's largest professional theater, and has held positions with some of America's leading resident theatres. In addition, she has worked in the broader nonprofit arts sector for the Ohio Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The Music Center of Los Angeles County. She has also managed a producer's office for a season on Broadway and worked for two film production companies and as a script analyst in Hollywood.

“As difficult as it was to replace Beth, we are thrilled to have Lori begin her tenure,” Robson said. ”Lori is an experienced professional who will build on the strong foundation laid by Beth and those before her as she leads the Arts Center into its seventh decade.