Barbara Chandler Allen
Read about Barbara through the words of The Purpose Prize:
Barbara has logged more than 50 years experience in visioning, building and managing arts-based nonprofit organizations. She has extensive experience in museum collection management, art handling and organizing international traveling art exhibitions as Registrar of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and in the community outreach exhibition department of the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Barbara on the runway in Paris overseeing the shipping of art from the Second Empire exhibit in 1978
Barbara and staff horsing around before moving one of Brancusi's large sculptures at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
She has served as a private consultant in the areas of creative strategies, design and development for clients including the School Reform Commission of the School District of Philadelphia and Miami’s award-winning Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH). She launched the Philadelphia chapter of Cradles to Crayons, a Boston-based nonprofit providing essential goods to homeless children, and served as the first Director of Development for the Charter High School for Architecture & Design (CHAD.) She was the founding Executive Director of the Designing Futures Foundation, a private educational foundation with a focus on creative, urban teens. She has served a trustee of the Women’s Resource Center, the Woodmere Art Museum, and The Village of Arts and Humanities, and as a founding member of the Parents’ Council of the Rhode Island School of Design.
A natural connector, Barbara has mentored young people for over 30 years, encouraging participation in the Philadelphia Flower Show, helping with portfolio development for art school admission, facilitating college scholarship opportunities and promoting art-based careers in the creative economy. She designed the innovative “Artists at Work” program, which has run for more that 23 years at the Woodmere Art Museum, introducing more than 15,000 second-graders to the myriad of careers in the arts. She is an alumnus of the FBI’s Community Academy, a member of Leadership Philadelphia’s Class of 2006, and served on the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Craft Show committee. Barbara was featured in Daniel Pink’s 2005 bestseller A Whole New Mind for her innovative work in educational reform.
Barbara was named a 2010 Purpose Prize winner, an honor for social entrepreneurs over 60 who are using their experience and passion to take on society’s biggest challenges. She was a presenter at the 2011 TEDx Philadelphia ED and at the Princeton Alumni Forum on innovations in civic engagement.
Jane Pauley profiled Barbara and Fresh Artists for the Today Show feature “Life Re-imagined” in May 2013, and Barbara has been invited by Ms. Pauley on the AARP speaking tour, presenting ideas for engaging retirement careers. Ms. Pauley featured Barbara in her 2014 New York Times bestseller: Your Life Calling: Reimagining the rest of your life.