The answer lies in collaborating with residents on each mural, Golden says. Averaging 30 feet by 35 feet and costing about $20,000 each, the murals are not imposed on a neighborhood but rather reflect the nature of that neighborhood, whether it's love of a Philadelphia musical great such as Patti LaBelle or Mario Lanza or a plea for racial harmony.
Murals now embellish the city's upscale arts and business districts, as well as poor neighborhoods.
Overseeing the creation of some 100 murals a year, the small, wiry Golden covers lots of ground. She talks fast, wears sensible shoes, and dresses simply, even when joined by local Philadelphia VIPs for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Earlier this fall, some local dignitaries came together outside a North Philadelphia drug treatment center to dedicate "Personal Renaissance," a five-story-high, 12,000-square-foot depiction of the process of addiction and recovery.
The making of the mural involved some 1,200 participants over 18 months.
To Golden, making murals depicting heroes, seekers, and slogans is part of community building. Her formula has several steps. First, draw on talented young recruits from the Mural Arts art education program in the public schools.
Next, tap residents for design ideas. Then refine the design until you get it right. And, finally, encourage people to come out and paint.