Shira Walinsky received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence in Fine Arts and Film Studies in 1995 and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999.
Shira is currently co-teaching a class at Bryn Mawr College with Jane Golden which focuses on women, activism, education, and murals. The class is developing an oral history of women in education from those that work in soup kitchens, to teachers and high school students. This project will culminate in a West Philadelphia mural.
She has co-taught an interdisciplinary mural class with Jane Golden, director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, at the University of Pennsylvania from 2006 - present. This class combines the exploration of murals, community organizing, oral history, documentary forms, urban studies and fine arts. The culminating project of Mural Arts the Big Picture is a West Philadelphia mural. This is an opportunity for students to be part of a concrete transformation and learn first hand about a collaborative process.
She co-created the curriculum for and taught in the BRIDGE program at the University of the Arts pre college program. The BRIDGE program was an interdisciplinary program co-taught with a writer, students explored graphic design, creative writing, printmaking and mural making. The BRIDGE program culminated in two South Philadelphia murals dealing with immigration. Walinsky has also taught Drawing and Figure Drawing and Painting over the past six years at Drexel University.
In 2000, she won a Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Grant in painting. Shira Walinsky has designed and painted eighteen murals in the City of Philadelphia through the City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program. Her work was featured in More Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell and in the upcoming Mural Art Vol. 3. Her interest lies in the changing shape of cities and how immigration is effecting this change. In her work she explores portrait, pattern, and typography. She is also pursuing her interest in interviews and documentary as she seeks to expand the possibilities for the portrait. Most recently, she designed murals for lunch trucks reflecting issues of immigration, migration and family. The trucks will be showcased at the upcoming street vendors awards in New York City.