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Wide-Format Pro Reinvented Herself at 60, and Now She’s Having the Most Fun of Her Life

Barbara Chandler Allen offers a peek inside her “purpose heaven.”




Barbara Chandler Allen
Founder/President, Fresh Artists, Philadelphia

“I got to completely reinvent my work life at 60… taking threads from multiple careers (art museum management, spectacle design, public education) and weaving a new tapestry focused on wide-format printing,” says Chandler Allen. Her and her son, Roger, invented a ground-breaking plan to save art education in underfunded public schools with Fresh Artists, an award-winning, national nonprofit art program that blows up K-12 kids’ artwork for Fortune 100’s corporate interiors. She refers to it as her “mission/life balance” because working with her son every day to help keep art in public schools is “the most fun I’ve ever had in my life!” When she isn’t introducing hundreds of thousands of kids to sustainable careers in the printing industry, she’s spending time with her Springer Spaniels, tending plants in her greenhouse, and making 16 quarts of soup a week, that she then gives away to under-the-weather neighbors, shut-ins, and friends who need a hug. Add in a few loaves of rosemary focaccia and she’s in “purpose heaven.”

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