Jane Golden

Founder, Executive Director

Contact Info

jane.golden@muralarts.org

(215) 685-0760

Jane Golden has been the driving force of Mural Arts Philadelphia since its inception in 1984, overseeing its growth from a small city agency into the nation’s largest public art program and a global model for transforming public space and community through art. Under Golden’s direction, Mural Arts has created over 4,000 works of public art through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies.

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Initially hired as a young artist by former Mayor Wilson Goode to address Philadelphia’s widespread graffiti issue, Golden worked with graffiti writers to channel their creative energy and talent toward collaborating with the City through muralism. These murals transformed neighborhoods where buildings and communities had long suffered from years of neglect, and the process gave graffiti writers an opportunity to rethink their work and contributions to the city as artists. In 1996, Mural Arts was reorganized under the City of Philadelphia Department of Recreation, and Golden was named Executive Director. She then established Philadelphia Mural Arts Advocates, a nonprofit organization to work in tandem with the City and raise funds to support the program.

In the decades since, Mural Arts has connected the process of muralism to a multitude of community and public outcomes. Through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies, the program has created over 4,000 works of public art that reimagine the intersection of art and public space and address societal challenges. Under Golden’s direction, Mural Arts has developed groundbreaking programs that transform practice and policies related to youth education, restorative justice, environmental issues and behavioral health. Golden has overseen a series of increasingly complex, ambitious, and award-winning public art projects, and launched the knowledge-sharing Mural Arts Institute in 2017 to help guide best-practices across the globe.

Sought after nationally and internationally as an expert on urban transformation through art, Golden has received numerous awards for her work, including the Philadelphia Award, the Hepburn Medal from the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College, the Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art, the 2012 Governor’s Award for Innovation in the Arts, a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award from former Governor Edward G. Rendell, the Adela Dwyer/St. Thomas Peace Award from Villanova University, LaSalle University’s Alumni Association’s Signum Fidei Medal, an Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Award, Philadelphia Magazine’s Trailblazer Award, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association’s 2016 Gold Medal Award, the 2016 Paul Philippe Cret Award from the American Institute of Architects, the 2016 Woman of Influence Award from Pearl S. Buck International, a Woman of Distinction Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal, and the 2017 ACE (Mentor Program) Person of the Year Award. In 2018, she received the Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence from the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, and the Dare to Understand Award from the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia.

She has co-authored two books about the murals in Philadelphia and co-edited a third, Mural Arts @ 30 (Temple University Press, 2014), published on the occasion of Mural Arts’ 30th anniversary. Golden is referenced in publications around the world, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Golden serves on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, the Penn Museum Advisory Committee, and the board of directors of The Heliotrope Foundation. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and degrees in Fine Arts and Political Science from Stanford University. In addition, Golden has received honorary PhDs from Swarthmore College, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Widener University, Arcadia University, LaSalle College, Haverford College, Rosemont College, Villanova University, St. Joseph’s University, and Drexel University.

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Last updated: Feb 7, 2020

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