Jane Golden, 1953

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Woman Category: ArtsWoman Tags: Painter and Philly Women

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    An artist and the founder and executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia.

    Jane Golden was born in Minnesota and grew up in Margate, New Jersey. From a young age, she loved painting and studied at The Philadelphia Museum of Art. After graduating high school, she attended Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, and after receiving her Masters in Fine Arts degree, she continued her education at Stanford University, studying Fine Arts and Political Science.
    At 24, Golden moved to LA, where she taught art to children in the Santa Monica area. In 1981, after receiving a grant to create a mural as a community artist, she co-founded the Los Angeles Public Art Foundation, where she trained children to create public art and worked with parolees as their community service. During that period, Golden painted one of her first massive artworks – a 20ft x 100ft mural titled Ocean Pier, which later was named a historic landmark.
    In 1984, after diagnosed with Lupus and annoyed by the continuous destruction of her murals by graffiti, Golden moved to Philadelphia to be closer to her family. There, she was hired by the Anti-Graffiti Network as a field representative. The organization’s mission was to fight graffiti by providing graffiti artists a productive and artistic outlet. In this position, she worked with at-risk teens, providing them a place to contribute to the city as artists. In 1989, the Anti-Graffiti Network painted the mural Stop the Violence in Point Breeze in honor of the neighborhood children killed by gun violence.
    In 1996, Golden expanded the small initiative into the Mural Arts Philadelphia program as part of the city Department of Recreation. As founder and executive director, Golden collaborated with community-based and nonprofit organizations, philanthropies, and private sector organizations to sponsor and support public artworks and transforming public spaces through art. Under her leadership, Mural Arts have branched out to other programs that promote practice and policies regarding environmental issues, youth education, behavioral health, and restorative justice. By 2010, Mural Arts Philadelphia became the largest public art program in the US, creating more than 4,000 murals in Philadelphia, turning it into “the city of murals.” In 2017, Golden founded Mural Arts Institute – a knowledge-sharing center to guide similar programs in the world.
    Since 2001, Golden is teaching art at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also an instructor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. She serves on the Penn Museum Advisory Committee, on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, and the Heliotrope Foundation board of directors.

    “You have to always take risks…One has to be always eager to learn, to take chances, to stretch and leap beyond the bounds of what you thought was possible.”

    “You have to always take risks…One has to be always eager to learn, to take chances, to stretch and leap beyond the bounds of what you thought was possible.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • Her mother was also an artist.
    • In 2015 she almost ran for Mayor of Philadelphia.
    • She has a dog and two cats.
    • She taught art at Graterford Prison.
    • She has co-written two books about the murals in Philadelphia.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design (2003)
    * Katharine Hepburn Medal from Bryn Mawr College (2009)
    * Governor's Award for the Arts (Pennsylvania, 2012)
    * Noam Chomsky Award, Justice Studies Association (2013)
    * The Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence from the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia (2018)
    * Honorary PhDs from Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Swarthmore College, Arcadia University, Villanova University, Drexel University, Widener University, LaSalle College, Haverford College, Rosemont College, and St. Joseph’s University

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Painter, Philly Women

    Transforming a city, one mural at a time | Jane Golden | TEDxPenn

    Jane Golden tackles challenging social issues with art. Under her three decades of leadership at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the program has grown from a city initiative that first existed to combat a pervasive graffiti crisis to an internationally renowned organization, the largest of its kind in the nation. She has helped address critical social issues including education, environment, and public safety, while bringing life and vibrancy to the Philadelphia skyline.

    Since Mural Arts’ inception, Jane has collaborated with community organizations and city agencies to create over 3,800 works of public art, earning Philadelphia worldwide recognition for its iconic outdoor gallery. She has co-authored two books about the city’s murals and edited a third, and she is the recipient of several honorary PhDs. In addition, her work has received many accolades, including the Philadelphia Award and the Governor’s Award for Innovation in the Arts, among others.

    This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

  • Photo credit - WWP team

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Mural Arts Philadelphia website.
    Wikipedia page.