Bucks County Herald November 5, 2009
Robin Larsen – Obituary
Robin Larsen, a New Hope-based arts administrator and promoter, died Oct. 28 at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. She was 60.
Born in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin was a graduate of Louisiana State University. She was a studio artist working in various media before moving to New Hope in 1980. The arts community in New Hope became Robin’s inspiration, and in turn, Robin inspired the community to new creative heights. She staged local events that featured the area’s many creative talents, and brought in artists, writers and performers from around the country to the New Hope area.
As the artistic director of the New Hope Festival of the Arts, she worked hand-in-hand with the late Jim Magill, New Hope’s mayor, and a dedicated group of board members and volunteers, to produce plays, cabaret, dance, gallery shows and classical music events. Among the various artists brought to New Hope under Robin’s guidance were actress Celeste Holm, comedienne Judy Gold, singer Margaret Whiting, actor and writer Jack Wrangler, playwright David Ives and the Shetland Island Youth Fiddle Orchestra.
Through the festival, Robin mentored many young playwrights and authors, offering them a first venue to see their works professionally produced. The play, “Six Story Building” by David Del Aquila, went from its New Hope premiere directly into a successful New York run.
Robin served as the director of the New Hope Outdoor Arts Show, an annual street fair featuring the crafts of many area artists. It was Robin’s vision that led to the town’s outdoor sculpture exhibits. Much of this statuary remains on permanent exhibit throughout the town.
Robin’s long-held dream of a permanent home for the performing and visual arts was realized with the opening of the New Hope Arts Center on Stockton Street. Housed in the Gerenser building, the center stands as a monument to Robin’s dedication and energy.In addition to her artistic endeavors, Robin was generous in lending her organizational skills to fund-raisers for many other community organizations such as the local libraries and the Lambertville Education Foundation.
Robin brought hundreds of people along for the ride, as board members, contributors, artists, performers, volunteers and audience members. Her welcoming spirit, ready smile and gentle wit fostered artistic careers, new audiences for the arts, civic pride and new friendships that would last a lifetime.
Robin is survived by her beloved husband, John; their children, Sean Lee Power and his wife, Sheila, of Solebury; Liz Larsen and her husband, Sal Viviano, of New York City; and Karen Larsen of Boston; their grandchildren, Ian Power, Meredith Power, Andy Viviano and Joey Viviano; her mother Jean Calvert Wilchar and her sister Sharon Wilchar, both of California.
Robin will be remembered at the kind of event she loved best – a big gathering of family and friends at the Eagle Firehouse, Sugan Road at Route 202, New Hope, at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15. All are invited.
Memorial donations may be made to the New Hope Arts Center, 2 Stockton St., New Hope 18938.
Van Horn-McDonough Funeral Home, Lambertville, N.J.