Penn State receives Judy Chicago feminist art education collections

June 10, 2011

University Park, Pa. — Artist, author and educator Judy Chicago has given Penn State University Libraries the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection, one of the most important private collections of feminist art education. The collection will be housed in the University Archives in the Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, on Penn State's University Park campus, as well as online.

"This summer, Ann Holt, an art education graduate assistant who has spent two years working in the university archives, will travel to Chicago's home in New Mexico to inventory and package the collection, set to open to the public early fall semester 2011," said Jackie Esposito, Penn State university archivist.

In collaboration with Chicago's gift, the Through the Flower organization (TTF) has given The Dinner Party Curriculum Online Project to Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture for its art education program to be sustained in conjunction with the Libraries' archive collection.

"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," said Karen Keifer-Boyd, professor of art education and women's studies at Penn State, who was instrumental in Chicago's interest in Penn State.

TTF also has funded endowments to the college and the Libraries for additional development, support and promotion for the Judy Chicago Art Education Archives and The Dinner Party Curriculum. The intent is that this collection and the collaboration between the college and the library will function to create a "living curriculum" to be maintained in perpetuity at Penn State.

Born in 1939 in Chicago, Ill., 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 nonprofit 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 colleagues at Penn State in architecture, film, communications, art history, theater, visual arts, art education, English/utopian studies, information science and technology, curriculum and instruction and women's studies to have conversations 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, email Keifer-Boyd at

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


  • Judy Chicago and 'The Dinner Party'

    IMAGE: Donald Woodman
Last Updated June 10, 2011