Founder & Board Chair


An artist and educator for over forty years, Ms. Johnson founded Art Works Now with a vision of increasing accessibility to visual arts education across economic and ability spectrums. She is a passionate advocate for social justice who sees access to visual art education as an important civil rights issue facing Americans today. Her research and passion for lifelong learning opportunities for older adults has expanded over the past decade and she is convinced that the arts enrich the lives of everyone they touch.

A working artist whose paintings have been exhibited internationally, Barbara has taught at colleges around the country, most notably The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and The University of Texas. In addition to her work as an educator, Ms. Johnson brings several years of experience in management, marketing, and merchandising in the art supply retail industry to her work as a nonprofit executive.

Ms. Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Wyoming and an undergraduate Art degree from The University of Maryland. She is a candidate for the Master’s in Art Education degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and a recipient of their Outstanding Scholar Award for her work advancing art education nationally through her publication efforts and national speaking engagements.

At the heart of her being, Barbara is a joyful and enthusiastic educator who firmly believes that art works to transform lives and, through her work as an artist, educator, and nonprofit leader, she is dedicated to creating the world she imagines…a world that is kind, equitable, and creative.