Trailblazer and Winton Woods Alumni Robyne Walker Murphy Honored by New York Metropolitan Art Museum

Robyne Murphy

Winton Woods Alumni Robyne Walker Murphy is making her mark in New York City. Along with three other exemplary women leaders, Murphy was honored by the infamous Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) for contributing significantly to social change. The Met said, “From championing collaboration, leadership, and representation for women, to promoting healthy communities through advocacy and legislation, The Met's 2022 honorees are three remarkable women working across the arts, through philanthropic, and government awareness.” Murphy gets so many emails when she saw one from one of her favorite museums she thought they needed her help with promoting a program or gala. “I didn’t know I was on anyone’s radar at the MET. I was shocked. It felt great to be honored and that they made space for someone who is working in community arts, and at the intersection of art, social justice, and youth development.”


Murphy has come a long way since her time in Cincinnati where she was born and raised. Although, she always showed potential for greater things. In 1992, she became the first class president of Winton Woods High School after the merger of Greenhills and Forest Park. Currently, she is the executive director at Groundwell. A non-profit organization located in New York City that connects the youth, artists, and community through creating public art and large-scale murals for social and personal change. The organization has created over 650 murals throughout New York City since it was founded 26 years ago. 


“Young people are at the center of what we do and in service of young people, we want to make sure we have well-trained, happy, and well-paid artists. We want the communities where the murals live and those communities to feel like they have been heard and see a reflection of themselves in our art.” The organization has school residencies every year and an office where students can get connected and participate in the portfolio, digital justice, and mural programs. However, Groundswell is not only about creating art but preparing students for the future. They host career panels, help students apply to college and have a 98% college acceptance rate. “We are excited about the work we get to do in schools. We want students to have creative problem-solving skills, to be able to work collaboratively, be compassionate, have empathy, and the ability to use their imagination to see the kind of world that they want to live in.” 


When asked what advice Walker would give to current Warriors. She replied, “I wish I knew earlier that the only thing I had to be is more of myself. I remember when I became the executive director of Groundswell. I was like ‘I have to seem like an executive director, stand like an executive director, talk and think like an executive director.’ And as I come to the end, I’ll be stepping down in July, I realize everything you need you already have. At times we say, if I had this or that I will be ready. But if you continue to think that way you will never go for what you deserve.” This year for the Women honorees, Walker was honored with Council Member Carmen De La Rosa and Trustee Emerita of The Met, Founder, and CEO of Tupelo Capital Management, Lulu C. Wang. Unfortunately, there was no ceremony due to COVID. Recipients were recognized in the Met’s newsletter and awards and certificates were mailed.



PHOTO #2: At her previous position, Robyne Walker Murphy was recognized for her work with DreamYard Art Center by the White House as one of the top 12 out-of-school programs in the nation. Robyne accepted the award from former first lady Michelle Obama at a White House ceremony.


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