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Thelma Golden

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Thelma Golden

Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem
Thelma Golden

Thelma Golden is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, the world’s leading institution devoted to visual art by artists of African descent, where she began her career in 1987 before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. She returned to the Studio Museum in 2000 as Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs and was named Director and Chief Curator in 2005. Under her leadership, the Studio Museum has gained renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art and a cultural anchor in the Harlem community. In 2015, the Museum announced plans to create a new facility, designed by Adjaye Associates with Cooper Robertson. The new building will be the Studio Museum’s first purpose-built facility since its founding in 1968. 


Golden serves on the Board of Directors for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Barack Obama Foundation, Crystal Bridges Museum, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She holds a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College. She has received honorary degrees from Columbia University, the City College of New York, San Francisco Art Institute, Smith College, and Moore College of Art and Design. Golden was appointed to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House by President Obama in 2010. She is a recognized authority in contemporary art by artists of African descent and an active lecturer and panelist, speaking about art and culture at national and international institutions.