Phyllis Barnhill Thelen, PhD (Hon.)

Phyllis Thelen

Title: Artist

Location: San Rafael, California, United States

Phyllis Thelen, Artist, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in sculpture.

Ms. Thelen knew she was destined to be an artist at an early age. As a child, she would receive craft sets, but instead of following through with the instructions provided, she would concoct something entirely different. This creative beginning has continued to inspire and push the boundaries of her art. Specializing in sculpture using natural fibers she pursued academic training first at Stephens College in Missouri. At this institution, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1946. She continued learning at Connecticut College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1948. In 2000, she received an honorary PhD from Dominican University. She also studied with Toshi Yoshida at the Miasa Bunka Center in Japan.

Early in her career, Ms. Thelen was a student director at California State with the United World Federalists. She became a National Student Director in New York with the organization from 1950 to 1951 and then relocated back to California and worked as a foreign travel agent. From 1975 to 1995, she was involved with the Marin Ballet. She also worked with Artisan’s in Mill Valley from 1993 to 1995. Furthermore, Ms. Thelen was the director and president of Art Works Downtown from 1997 to 2006.

Ms. Thelen has been recognized for her work on several occasions. She was named the Master Artist at the Marin Art Festival in 2010 and the Citizen of the Year in San Rafael in 2009. In 2000, she was initiated into the Hall of Fame of Marin Woman’s Communications. In addition, she received the Living Treasurer Award from Marin County in 2010. Ms. Thelen’s early artwork centered around storytelling. In her next phase, she focused more on allowing the materials to speak without undue manipulation. Ms. Thelen’s more recent artwork is inspired by political and ecological events. All of her work is unified under the themes of defending, protecting and celebrating nature.

For more information, please visit:

Phyllis Thelen’s Art

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