The wrinkled face half-hidden in a cap bearing the words “Wittenberg
Alumni” in booth number 52 of the Yellow Springs Street Fair this
year was none other than Joe Robinson, the oldest graduate in the
Wittenberg class of 1999.
At 73, Robinson, an artist, has created postcard-size prints of almost every
shop and eatery in Yellow Springs.
His collection has
been showcased in the Yellow Springs Street Fair for the past five
years, and this year, his exhibition titled Portraits of a Village included
prints of the Antioch Company, The Little Art Theater, the former
Center Stage and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop in Dayton,
Although he painted his first picture in 1988, Robinson quickly
developed a passion for art following a difficult kidney transplant in
Working from photographs, Robinson uses watercolors and
oils, and considers the unique feature of his paintings to be the absence
of people. “There are no people in my art, only buildings that are usually
open so people can go in.
I let people be the eyes, and go inside the
building,” he said.
Ranging in price from $2 for postcards to between $15-20 for prints,
Robinson’s work was snatched up on the spot by some fair-goers while
others just stopped by for a chat.
One such passerby asked him if his
business was going well for the day, and Robinson replied with a
smile, “I don’t do this for the business; I do it as a hobby.”
raised from his paintings benefit the Kidney Fund, the Heart Fund
and his daughter’s sixth-grade class.
Currently painting a scene inspired by a page in the book Discovering
Britain and Ireland and writing poetry, Robinson thanks Wittenberg
for a challenging, stimulating and terrific educational experience.
him, Wittenberg is one of the finest institutions in the United States
and his five-decade-long affair with it provided him with a “wonderful
relationship” for life.