Rosemont College is pleased to announce that Jane Golden, executive director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, will serve as this year’s Commencement speaker and be awarded an honorary doctoral degree. Golden was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania by Governor Edward G. Rendell, and has received numerous awards for her work to engage young people and improve city neighborhoods through art.
In 1984, Golden was hired by the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network to encourage graffiti writers to refocus their energies and talents on mural painting. The Anti-Graffiti Network became the Mural Arts Program in 1996, with Golden serving as director. Today, Mural Arts acts as both a city agency and a nonprofit organization, and has fostered the creation of more than 3,000 murals.
As the program developed, community engagement became a key component. Mural painting gave local artists a chance to refine their skills, and allowed neighborhood residents to share stories, traditions, and culture in a lasting way. Educational programs were established to help at-risk children and teenagers build self-confidence and discover new ambitions by creating murals. Similar programs are offered at local prisons and rehabilitation centers.
Golden’s personal and professional mantra has been, “Art ignites change.” Over the past 25 years, more than 20,000 young people have been mentored through the Mural Arts Program. Golden has been honored with the Award for Social Justice from the Philadelphia Alliance, the Hepburn Medal from Bryn Mawr College, and the Moore College of Art Visionary Woman Award, among others. In 2007, she was named as one of the “75 Greatest Living Philadelphians” by the Philadelphia Daily News.
The Mural Arts Program’s current projects include a Philadelphia Phillies-themed mural at 24th and Walnut streets, a collaboration with GRAMMY® Award winning local artists The Roots, a haiku-inspired mural with Philadelphia poet laureate Sonia Sanchez, and a series of art and writing workshops for veterans titled “Our City, Our Vets.”
Rosemont’s 89th Commencement exercises will be held Saturday, May 12. The ceremony will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Connelly Green, weather permitting. Golden will address graduates of the Undergraduate College and the Schools of Graduate and Professional Studies, in addition to families, friends, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, and community members.