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A Conversation with Jane Golden and Jan Cohen-Cruz

A conversation with Jane Golden, the Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director of Imagining America and Professor at Syracuse University, facilitated by Erica Nagel, Artistic Programs Associate at McCarter Theater.

Photos courtesy of the artists

Jane Golden is the Executive Director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Since the Mural Arts Program began in 1984 as a component of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, Jane Golden has been its driving force, overseeing its growth from a small city agency into the nation's largest mural program, a catalyst for positive social change and a model for community development across the country and around the globe.  Under Golden’s direction, in partnership with communities, grassroots organizations, city agencies, schools and philanthropies, the Mural Arts Program has created over 3,000 landmark works of public art, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.”

Golden 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, Haverford College, and Villanova University. Most recently Golden received a scholarship through the Social Enterprise Initiative to attend the Harvard Business School Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management Program.

Jan Cohen-Cruz is a scholar, practitioner, and teacher of grassroots, socially-grounded, and activist art. She wrote Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response; Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the U S; edited Radical Street Performance, and, with Mady Schutzman, co-edited Playing Boal: Theatre, Therapy, Activism and A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Art and Cultural Politics. As a professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts from the late 1980s until 2006, Cohen-Cruz produced community-based arts projects with students including one on community gardens, directed by Cornerstone Theater's Sabrina Peck, and another on gentrification, co-directed by Urban Bush Woman's Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and NYU Experimental Theatre Wing's Rosemary Quinn. In the mid-1990s, Jan co-directed Tisch's AmeriCorps (President Clinton's domestic Peace Corps), on violence reduction through the arts. She co-ordinated the Drama Department's minor in applied theatre and directed Tisch's Office of Community Connections. She is among the founders of NYU's Department and Center of Art and Public Policy. In 2006-7, she co-conceptualized and co-initiated HOME, New Orleans, collaborating with Xavier, Dillard, and Tulane Universities, local artists including the VESTIGES Project, and residents of four neighborhoods, experimenting with art's role in the revitalization of "home" as dwelling, neighborhood, and that city itself. Cohen-Cruz has been a freelance practitioner of Boal's "theatre of the oppressed" for 25 years. Her current research involves assessment of fifteen community-based visual arts projects to take place in countries around the world, sponsored by the Bronx Museum and the US State Department.” In addition to serving as Director of Imagining America, Jan is a University Professor at Syracuse University.

Event Information


Thursday, March 3 at 4:30 PM

Rocky Mathey Theater
Princeton University

Free and open to the public






The Princeton Atelier was endowed in 2009 through the generosity of a donor who has chosen to remain anonymous. The Atelier is additionally supported through The Newhouse Foundation, The Erik C. Blachford '89 Fund, The Schare-Pfaffenroth Endowment Fund, The Jordan Roth '97 Performance Fund and The Peter T. Joseph Foundation.


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