Sunday, March 8, 1998
Barbara Gould
Strives to expose children to the arts

BY REON CARTER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

1997 Women of the Year
Barbara Gould, center, with Beverly Odoms from Peoples School to Ms. Gould's immediate right, welcome students to a program at the Aronoff Center.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |

When students visit the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Barbara Gould would like them to think of it and other arts venues as their own.

By claiming such venues, the Indian Hill woman hopes they will embrace them.

"It's important that all children in the area be exposed to the arts," she says.

With understanding and appreciation of the arts being her goal for young people, Ms. Gould often says: "Just one, let me reach just one."

Ms. Gould is described by nominators as a woman of vision, compassion, determination and boundless energy.

As a board member of Cincinnati Arts Association, Ms. Gould, along with her husband, William J. Motto, founded and endow the association's transportation fund. Since the program began in January 1996, 35,000 students from eight counties in Ohio and Kentucky have attended cultural and artistic events they wouldn't have attended otherwise. The program is just one of dozens of avenues Ms. Gould uses to make a difference in the community.

Among her endeavors, Ms. Gould is on the board of overseers for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; one of three founding members of the Greater Cincinnati Jazz Society; board member of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center; and member of the board of trustees for the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Most projects fulfill one goal: Ms. Gould's quest to "level the playing the field" for at-risk, urban youth she believes have been shortchanged.

Of her unyielding interest in the welfare of children, she says: "I was not able to have my own children so I decided that all children would be my children."

Nominator Edwin Rigaud, executive director of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, says: "She not only experiments with existing programs to reach them; she will invent her own program if necessary. . . . Not only is she enthusiastic about her projects, she forms a personal connection with them."

Barbara Gould
  • Birthplace: Bond Hill.
  • Residence: Indian Hill.
  • Occupation: Vice president and director of marketing for J Curve, an independent jazz record label.
  • Family: Married to William J. Motto, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Meridian Diagnostics, Inc.
  • Education: Graduated from Walnut Hills High School. Graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in English literature (1960).
  • Best advice received: ''There is no 'try'; there's only do or don't do.''
  • Arzell Nelson, executive director of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission says: "Recognizing the value of dialogue and the exchange of of cultural information between various groups and organizations, she has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as devote her considerable energy to develop programs to promote positive intergroup relations."

    She collaborated with the YMCA to develop Camp Brightlight, a resident summer camp in Felicity for at-risk boys and girls, which began in 1996.

    "It's a chance for about 60 of these kids to get away and have a great summer," she says.

    Guest speakers, sports celebrities and entertainment were among her programming ideas. She also implemented a mentor program, which the YMCA has continued.

    Ms. Gould, one of six children, spent portions of her childhood in Cleveland, Washington and Cincinnati. She graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1957 and attended Vassar College before transferring and graduating from the University of Michigan in 1960.

    Ms. Gould worked as a private and commercial design consultant for 25 years, but is now focusing on her latest venture, J Curve, an independent jazz record label.

    Her hobbies include collecting abandoned bird nests and writing poetry. Her poetic bent has even helped with her causes.

    "She has almost single-handedly reshaped the mission statement of the Freedom Center, giving it powerful emotion and vision," Mr. Rigaud says.

    Using her all talents, Ms. Gould's will continue to strive to shake up the status quo: "I want to help create a world where all things are possible. I want all kids to know it's OK to dream."

    Juanita M. Adams | Rebecca Bechhold | Sarah Blanken | Shannon Carter
    Susan S. Friedlander | Barbara Gould | Margaret Richards | Susan Tew
    Judith Van Ginkel | Kathy Wade
    Cover | Introduction | Previous winners