Even at 71, Aminah Robinson sleeps just a few hours a night, wakes at 4 a.m., pours a cup of coffee and starts painting again. She draws on the countertops and floors. She sculpts on the stovetop and doors. Her studio is not confined to a room; it is the entirety of her home. Her art is not confined to a hobby; it is the entirety of her existence. She has so many stories to tell, and this is how she does it.

She does not want to create; she needs to.

It's as if she explores her innermost feelings and then uses inks, mud, glue, buttons, neckties, music boxes-almost anything-to translate them so the rest of us can feel them, too.

I have interviewed hundreds of people-people who have fascinated me, delighted me and occasionally become friends-and none have been as unique as Aminah. In this issue, you'll have the chance to meet her, and I believe it's an introduction you'll enjoy.

My path to Aminah actually started during a fashion discussion. Many months ago, as our staff was brainstorming places for photo shoots, someone mentioned the Columbus Museum of Art. Cool concept, we thought, to feature wearable art among permanent art. We took off from there, deciding to theme the entire issue around artistic inspiration, focusing on visual pleasures.

I'm confident you'll feed off the creative energy in these pages as enjoyably as we did while putting them together.

We profile longtime hair artist Debra Penzone, who keeps the Charles Penzone salon chain fresh (and the community happy) with her adept leadership skills and giving spirit. We introduce Nannette Maciejunes, who is leading the charge to make the already-grand museum more interactive and engaging. And we feature Courage Unmasked, a program for which artists decorate radiation masks to raise money for head and neck cancer.

We also take you into the gallery-like home of local arts power couple Denny Griffith and Beth Fisher. And in case you're intrigued by the idea of collecting yourself, we offer tips on how to do it (and introduce gallery owners who are happy to help you start).

As I cooked dinner the other night, stewing over thoughts for this note, I was enjoying Malbec from a beautiful, green-glazed glass. My sister, a high school teacher, had commissioned her art teacher friend to make me a set of wine glasses for Christmas a few years back. Every time I use them, they make me smile. I'm awed at the talent, the time, the care. I can say the same about the other original art in our home, too. Knowing the artist behind the piece and the story behind the art-and cherishing the fact you're the only one on the planet with that specific piece-makes it far more meaningful.

I asked Will Shilling, our photo editor and a talented artist in his own right, why he thinks art is important. He thought about it for a bit, and in the end, his answer was simple.

"Art gives people the chance to stop and say 'wow,' " he said, "for no reason at all."

I love that.

Aminah Robinson's work does that for me.

I hope this issue does that for you.

-- KRISTY ECKERT, Editor