2010 Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Symposium

Barnett Symposia: History and the Purpose

On May 7, 1993, two endowed funds were established by Lawrence R. Barnett and Isabel Bigley Barnett to support the Arts Policy and Administration Program at The Ohio State University. The Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Fellowship Fund provides tuition, fees, and an annual stipend for promising Arts Policy and Administration students. The Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Distinguished Visiting Professor Fund supports an annual Barnett lecture series and the biennial Barnett Arts and Public Policy Symposium.

The Barnett Symposium concept was created to facilitate in-depth inquiry and analysis of public and not-for-profit sector policies and practices. The inaugural symposium in May 1993 brought together two key figures from the J. Paul Getty Trust, two highly regarded state arts council directors, university experts in public policy, artists, and arts administrators to discuss the broad topic of Public Policy and the Arts.

2008 Barnett Symposium Web site

Lawrence R. Barnett and Isabel Bigley Barnett

Lawrence R. Barnett and Isabel Bigley Barnett.

Lawrence R. Barnett

Born in Orville, Ohio, Larry Barnett attended Ohio State as a business major in the 1930s and found that his talent as a violinist would fund college expenses. His band played at many Columbus venues, but work and school took their toll; he became ill and left school one quarter short of graduation. Following his recovery, Barnett took a job in the talent department of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS). When Music Corporation of America (MCA) bought CBS’s talent division, Barnett went with MCA. In 1963, he became board chairman and president of General Artists Corporation, and when it was acquired by Chris-Craft Industries, Barnett was appointed vice president of Chris-Craft as well as vice chairman and director of United Television, Inc. When he retired in 1988, Barnett contacted Ohio State about his unfinished business here, and after completing an independent studies project with Professor Donald Sexton in the College of Business, he received his bachelor’s degree. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Ohio State.

Isabel Bigley Barnett (1928–2006)

Isabel Bigley was a successful stage and television actress. Her career began with the London production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma, in which she had a small role and was a chorus member. Before the London production run concluded, she was playing Laurie, the female lead. She starred in the original Broadway cast of Guys and Dolls, for which she won a Tony Award. She was then cast as the lead in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s new musical Me and Juliet, which ran for 358 performances. She hosted the television program Café Continental and appeared on numerous television programs, including those of Ed Sullivan, Paul Whiteman, Eddie Fisher, Garry Moore and Abbott and Costello as well as the game show, What’s My Line?. Bigley married Larry Barnett in 1953. She donated her extensive collection of theatre memorabilia to Ohio State’s Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute in 1993.

The 2010 Barnett Symposium is generously supported by Lawrence and the late Isabel Barnett,
with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Arts Foundation, Inc., and Arts Midwest.