Committed to the ideal that teaching is an aspirational undertaking. Dedicated to assisting young people to become better-educated people and not necessarily artists
An educator, professional artist and community volunteer for over four decades: Barbara Barrett began a lifelong career in the arts as an educator in the Peace Corps, teaching in Liberia, Africa along with her husband Robert Barrett. Barbara Barrett’s career in teaching extended to the community college, university, high school and primary school levels.
Throughout her 30-year career as an educator she has maintained an active studio career as an artist resulting in many gallery and museum exhibitions and the inclusion of her artwork in public and private collections. In addition, Barbara Barrett has managed the office of an advertising agency, organized festivals and reorganized the art division of a major California fair. Active in cultural philanthropy, Barbara Barrett has served on fund raising and special event committees for museums, art councils and philharmonic orchestras.
Barbara pursued her successful career in the arts as an educator. She was committing to the ideal that teaching is an aspirational undertaking. Dedicated to assisting young people to become better-educated people and not necessarily artists, Barbara Barrett has developed a cross discipline curriculum that inspires discourse and self-exploration by her students. She strives to inspire students to high levels of achievement by sharing her knowledge of art and history enhanced by her formal education and extensive travel experiences in Europe and Africa. Barbara Barrett is particularly dedicated to the standard student. Through a solid curriculum based on art history, hands-on involvement in the learning process and clearly stated standards of achievement for her students she has demonstrated that all young people can be inspired to achieve excellence.
Her colleagues have often recognized her planning abilities and her methods of motivating students. She has organized and taught in-service trainings for municipal governments, schools and museums. This work included the writing and publication of lesson plans and training manuals. She has served on numerous curriculum-planning committees including one co-sponsored by Fresno City College (FCC) and the Fresno Art Museum that instituted a new approach to teaching art appreciation resulting in the creation of one of the FCC’s most popular electives.
Barbara Barrett has also focused on students with special challenges such as foreign students learning English in order to attend college in the United States. Building on her Peace Corps experience and skill at teaching English as a second language Barbara Barrett taught art courses at the English Language Institute at California State University Fresno that enabled students to grow in their language proficiency as well as their knowledge of American culture.
She has taught at two California Community Colleges, first at Long Beach City College and later at Fresno City College. In addition she has taught at California State University Fresno. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree and a California Lifetime Primary and Secondary Credential from California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC), now California Collage of Art (CCA), Oakland, California and a Community College Credential from California State University Long Beach (CSULB) and a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Printmaking from California State University Fresno (CSUF). She also did undergraduate work at College of St. Elizabeth’s in New Jersey and at University of California, Berkeley (Cal).
As a consultant, Barbara Barrett accepted the challenge of reorganizing the Fresno County Fair’s annual art exhibition from an exhibition of amateurs to a showcase of the best artwork produced in Central California. As the Superintendent of the Big Fresno Fair’s art exhibit she was responsible for the complete renovation of an eighty-year-old program and the training, scheduling and supervision of over 100 volunteers. The City of Lakewood hired Barbara Barrett to reconceived the design of the annual city festival, train and assign staff for the festival as well as supervise the cadre of staff and volunteers for the duration of the festival. She has been commissioned to train museum docents on the history of modern and contemporary art through lecture series as well as how to instruct hands-on art experiences for museum visitors from blind students to senior groups.
Barbara relished being a tour guide and lecturer on trips for museum patrons to Italy, France and New York. Her tour lectures have been as diverse as presentations on ancient mosaic techniques (presented in Ravenna, Italy), fresco painting and Renaissance drawing transfer techniques (presented in Pisa, Italy), as well as a talk on the work and life of Claude Monet in Giverny, France.
For over a decade, on behalf of the Fresno Art Museum, Barbara Barrett organized intimate donor dinners and gala events that generated millions of dollars helping to establish the only accredited contemporary art museum in Central California. Experienced and proficient in hospitality she has entertained and observed complex protocols with a great number of personalities such as Torkum Manoogian, 96th Patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Jerusalem; Irving Stone, best selling author; hollywood actor Richard Dysart of LA Law; Wayne Thiebaud, famed and renowned California painter.
Through her friendship with California artists and museum patrons many works of art were contributed to the permanent collection of the Fresno Art Museum. For two years in a row she has assisted the chair of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s annual gala auction that in 2001 raised over $120,000. Additionally Barbara Barrett is an active patron of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Autry Museum of Western Heritage , the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her knowledge of and attendance at Los Angeles philanthropic events and her personal acquaintance with many leaders of the Los Angeles business and cultural community contributes to Barbara Barrett’s effectiveness as a fund-raiser. Barbara Barrett understands that a successful development program is as much about relationship building as it is about soliciting contributions.