Alma Robinson

2021 Honoree - Michael Newton Award


Alma Robinson is the Executive Director of California Lawyers for the Arts, where she leads a multi-faceted, statewide organization with offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Berkeley. While overseeing CLA’s legal referral, education, advocacy, and alternative dispute resolution programs, she has led several groundbreaking initiatives including the Arts-in-Corrections Initiative, a collaborative effort that resulted in an initial two-year $2.5 million contract between the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Arts Council for arts programs in 20 California prisons in 2014. This pilot project has now expanded into an $8 million/year fund for arts classes in all 35 state prisons. CLA is currently funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to replicate the demonstration projects in collaboration with state and local arts councils in New York, Louisiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Alma serves on the national policy committees of the Free at Last Coalition and the Abolish Slavery National Network—organizations that are working to replace the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A former journalist at the Washington Star, Alma was a founding board member of California Arts Advocates and the Museum of the African Diaspora, and served as a trustee of the San Francisco Opera Association and Mills College. She is a graduate of Middlebury College and Stanford Law School.