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Judy Chicago Archival Collection Opens to the Public

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Aug 27 2011 - 5:01pm

The Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, one of the most important private collections of archival materials on feminist art education, is now open to the public at Penn State University Libraries, 104 Paterno Library, on the University Park campus, as well as online. The collection, housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library, includes videos, photographs, and notes on Chicago's teaching projects.

This past summer, Ann Holt, an Art Education graduate assistant in the University Archives, and Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and women's studies, traveled to Chicago's home in New Mexico and inventoried and packaged the collection that is now ready for use.

The collection, a gift to the Libraries from artist, author, and educator Judy Chicago, complements The Dinner Party Curriculum Online Project, developed by Marilyn Stewart, Peg Speirs, and Carrie Nordlund, under the directorship of Marilyn Stewart, and in collaboration with Judy Chicago and Constance Bumgarner Gee, given by the Through the Flower organization (TTF) to Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture for its Art Education program.

TTF endowments to the college and the Libraries for additional development, support and promotion of Chicago's archival collection and The Dinner Party Curriculum will function to create a "living curriculum" to be maintained in perpetuity at Penn State. With the support of the TTF endowments and the 14 encounters that comprise The Dinner Party Curriculum Project, Penn State's Art Education program will be instrumental in worldwide art education initiatives that promote the accomplishments of women. These related works will become part of the living archive of The Dinner Party Curriculum Project at

Karen Keifer-Boyd, who has been instrumental in Chicago's interest in Penn State, notes, "Chicago's collection and online project will give Penn State students and visiting scholars an unprecedented opportunity to work with original source materials of a key founder of the feminist art movement and a prolific artist to create a new corpus of work on the subject of feminist art pedagogy."

Born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois, Judy Chicago rose to fame in the 1970s and is best known for her 1974 monumental work The Dinner Party, the breathtaking, triangular table that is a symbolic history of women in western civilization and is now in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Museum. She created three major collaborative projects afterwards: the Birth Project, Holocaust Project, and Resolutions: A Stitch in Time. She continues making thought-provoking art in new media today, including her work in glass since 2003. Chicago continues as the founding director of TTF.

An influential non-profit feminist art organization, founded in 1978, the mission of TTF is to educate a broad public about the importance of art and its power to emphasize women's achievements. The Dinner Party Curriculum is considered living because learning and teaching are generative, fluid processes situated in changing times and places. Inquiry, research, creation, critical dialogue, and reflection in the encounters of The Dinner Party Curriculum bring new issues and awareness of art content, diversity, social justice and equity. As teachers and students adapt encounters with feminist art, ideas and feminist art pedagogy within their own life experience based on principles of The Dinner Party Curriculum, they will continue to create a living curriculum.

Keifer-Boyd has assembled a group of 12 interested Penn State colleagues in architecture, film, communications, art history, theatre, visual arts, art education, English/utopian studies, information science and technology, curriculum and instruction, and women's studies to have conversations during fall semester 2011 about the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection and especially about ways to use it in their curriculum.

For information regarding the curriculum, e-mail Keifer-Boyd at

For more information regarding the University Archives collection, contact University Archivist Jackie Esposito at or 814-863-3791.


Judy Chicago, Karen Keifer-Boyd and technicians
Judy Chicago and The Dinner Party