CHILLIN' WIT': Jane Golden can't sit still

Jane Golden: Nice "shark." Regina Medina / Daily News Staff
Jane Golden: Nice "shark." Regina Medina / Daily News Staff
Posted: July 02, 2012

JANE GOLDEN can't help it. The executive director of the city's Mural Arts Program can't sit still, lie low or be chillin' any day of the week, especially on her days off.

"I hear that if a shark stops moving, it dies," says Golden, 56, seated Sunday at her dining-room table in Fairmount. "I'm like a shark, but a nice shark!" She laughs at her own clarification.

Golden keeps swimming straight ahead, meeting with two visiting artists and checking out possible mural locations with a staffer. Her 1982 medical diagnosis of systemic lupus erythematosus, or lupus, might have something to do with her need "to do."

"I was told I wouldn't live very long," Golden says. "I have a greater sense of empathy and perspective that has made me feel that life is short and we don't have endless time. That's why I feel like I'm always in a hurry."

Normally, when her husband of 18 years, Tony Heriza, is in town, they'll bike on Kelly Drive or sometimes head to Valley Green. Or they'll walk. "I don't have many hobbies," she says. But when Tony is away, as on Sunday, she'll try to get some city work done with brief personal time scheduled in between.

First order of business is brunch at Fare restaurant on Fairmount Avenue near 21st Street with Dutch artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhan. They've been living in North Philly since last July as part of an artists-in-residence program and are working on a mural at Germantown Avenue near Huntingdon, sponsored by the Village of Arts and Humanities. Urhan, however, gives Golden a project pitch involving Brazilian and Philadelphia artists working on a mural in Center City.

Golden, who barely touches her meal of a fruit plate and fresh-squeezed orange-carrot juice, really likes the idea and tells them that they should get together after the July Fourth holiday to "talk seriously and map it out." Then, she adds, "I'm not one of those people who talks about things, I like to hop on a good idea."

After brunch, Golden walks to the Fairmount Pet Shoppe, where she says she wants to buy cat food for felines Ludo and Bella, but really it seems as if she wants to play with the rescue kittens in the window.

Later, she heads over to Hagert Park in Kensington for a meeting with two residents and with Kate Jacobi, mural-arts project planning and operations manager. Golden drives a city-issued car, and her phone's GPS dispenses audio directions with which she seems to disagree.

"Sometimes I think these things are confused," she says of the GPS. "Sometimes, I'm not good at taking orders, from a GPS or otherwise." n

Email Regina Medina at medinar@phillynews.com. and follow her on Twitter @ReginaMedina.

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