Thelma Golden, visionary arts leader, comes to Portland as part of the PMA’s Bernard Osher Lecture series

The Portland Museum of Art is honored to announce that Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, is the museum’s guest speaker for the 2018 Bernard Osher Lecture on Tuesday, July 9, at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall. Tickets go on sale May 24.
With a vision set squarely to the future and a belief in the power of art to shape local communities and affect the wider world, Thelma Golden is an ideal choice for this year’s Bernard Osher Lecture Series, which annually invites visionary cultural leaders, scholars, and thinkers to Maine to share their insights and experiences with PMA audiences.

The Studio Museum is the world’s leading institution devoted to visual art by artists of African descent, located in the heart of Harlem, New York. Under Golden’s leadership, the museum has gained increased renown as a global leader in the exhibition of contemporary art, a center for innovative education, and a cultural anchor in the Harlem community.

Golden’s tenure as Director has also been characterized by a deep commitment to planning for the Museum’s future. In 2015, the museum announced plans to create a new facility on its current site in Harlem. The new building will be the Studio Museum’s first purpose-built facility since its founding in 1968.

Prior to joining the Studio Museum in 2000, Golden was a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she co-curated the 1993 Whitney Biennial, a landmark exhibition that paved the way for topics of race, gender and identity to be discussed institutionally. One year later, Golden curated the groundbreaking Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in American Art, an exhibition that cemented her reputation as a leading progressive voice in museum and artistic culture.

After leaving the Whitney, Golden accepted the role of Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the Studio Museum in 2000, and became Director of the institution in 2005. In the years that followed, the Studio Museum has made significant strides in the presentation of contemporary art, and helped shape the future of one of New York’s most historic and important neighborhoods.

Thelma Golden holds a B.A. in Art History and African American Studies from Smith College. She has received honorary doctorates from the City College of New York (2009), San Francisco Art Institute (2008), Smith College (2004), and Moore College of Art and Design (2003). In 2010, she was awarded a Barnard Medal of Distinction from Barnard College. That same year, President Barack Obama appointed Golden to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, on which she served from 2010–2016.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Barack Obama Foundation and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is a 2008 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and in 2016 received the Audrey Irmas Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. In 2015, she was appointed as a Ford Foundation Art of Change Visiting Fellow. Golden is a recognized authority in contemporary art by artists of African descent and an active lecturer and panelist speaking about contemporary art and culture at national and international institutions. Most recently, in March 2018, the J. Paul Getty Trust announced that Golden as the recipient of the annual J. Paul Getty Medal, for transforming the Studio Museum into “one of our nation’s most dynamic visual arts institutions, inspiring to professionals and public alike.”

For more information visit or call (207) 775-6148.

Leave a Reply