Donna Backues

Donna Backues

Philadelphia, PA, United States

About Donna Backues

Donna Backues has a BA in Studio Art & Graphic Design from Southern Illinois University, an MFA from The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and an MA in Urban Studies and Community Arts from Eastern University.

Donna lived in Indonesia for 18 years working as an artist, a teaching artist, and as a grassroots community development practitioner using her art in various capacities. Her work included founding a community preventative health training program and partnering with local artisans to design indigenous products for export to support small home industries.
Since moving to Philadelphia, Donna has worked as a painter, illustrator, and community artist and teaching artist. Currently she is the Community & Family Wellness Coordinator for a non-profit working with the Asian immigrant and refugee population in Philadelphia.

Donna taught for The Mural Arts Program and The Village of Arts and Humanities. She has been awarded artist residencies through the Philadelphia Art Museum’s Delphi Art Futures & Art Partners program, Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts, Fleisher Art Memorial and Spiral Q. In 2013 Donna won first prize in the American Batik Design Competition and in 2014 she was awarded the Art & Change Grant by the Leeway foundation and the NewCourtland Fellowship in 2017. Four of her paintings are in the Philadelphia Convention Center’s permanent collection. Her murals can be seen in Philadelphia, Camden NJ and in Leeds, UK.


Eastern University, St. Davids, PA, MA in Urban Studies & Community Arts

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, US, MFA

Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, IL, US, BA in Graphic Design


2013-18 - Visiting Artist, Art Futures Program, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
2018 - Teaching Artist, LIFE Program, NewCourtland Center, Philadelphia, PA
2017 - Teaching Artist, SEAMAAC Community Outreach Center, Philadelphia, PA
2017 - Teaching Artist, Rutgers University - Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts, Camden, NJ
2016 - Teaching Artist, SNIT (Sumbangsi Nuansa Indonesia), Bungursari, West Java, Indonesia
2013-16 - Visiting Artist, Art Partners Program, Philadelphia Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA
2014-15 - Visiting Artist, Wednesday Program, Philadelphia Art Museum
2013-15 - Teaching Artist, Spiral Q, Philadelphia, PA
2012 - Teaching Artist, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
1994 - Visiting Artist, Redpoint Gallery & Printmaking Studio, Bandung, Indonesia

2018 - Outstanding Graduate Thesis Award Honorable Mention, Eastern University, St. David’s, PA
2017/18 - Philadelphia Unity Cup Art Grant
2017 - Elysian Fields and Little Baby's Ice Cream Shared Interest Grant for Artists
2017 - NewCourtland Fellowship, Center for Emerging Artists, Philadelphia, PA
2016 - Call for Pennsylvania Artists, 4 paintings purchased by the Philadelphia Convention Center Authority for West Wing Art Collection
2015 - Finalist for the NewCourtland Artist Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
2014 - Art & Change Award, Leeway Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
2013 - First Place Winner in the American Batik Design Competition 2013, Washington D.C.
2007Visiti - ng artist demonstration at Red Point Gallery, Bandung, Indonesia

2016 - Commissioned to create large mural for the Camden County Historical Museum, Camden, NJ
2014 - Commissioned to redesign & restore Lily Yeh’s “Magic Garden” mural, Village of the Arts & Humanities, Philadelphia, PA
2012 - Commissioned to design & illustrate 5 window scrim murals for the Septa Substation on 13th & East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA
2011 - Commissioned by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to create illustrations for the Shot Tower Park signage
2006 - Commissioned by TEAR Holland to create illustrated teaching aids the Elementary School Literacy program in Aceh, Indonesia
2005 - Commissioned by TEAR Holland to create coloring book for Acehnese children during the Asian Tsunami relief efforts, Indonesia
2002 - Commissioned to paint 2 murals for Dine China Restaurant, Leeds, UK
2002 - Commissioned to paint 3 murals for Little Tokyo Restaurant, Leeds, UK


2017 - Imagined Landscapes, Pennswood Gallery, Newtown, PA
2008 - Recollections, McInnis Gallery, St. David’s, PA
2007 - Monotypes, Redpoint Gallery, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
1995 - Watercolors II, Galeri Bandung, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
1994 - Watercolors I, Centre Culturel Francais Gallery, Bandung, Indonesia

2019 - Downriver in the Multiverse, 2019, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA
2019 - Camden: Past, Present Future Exhibition, Rutgers’ Stedman Gallery, Camden, NJ
2018 - Art and the Vote, Rep. E. Fiedler’s office, Philadelphia, PA
2018 - Wing Art Collection, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia, PA
2018 - Art is Ageless, NewCourtland Senior Community at St. Bart's, Philadelphia, PA
2018 - Soul Shots, Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, Philadelphia, PA
2017 - Fame 2017, Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts Alumni Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2017 - Q Artist Group Show, Spiral Q Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2015 - Holiday Show, Center for Emerging Visual Artists, Philadelphia, PA
2014 - Dear Fleisher, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
2014 - American Batik Design, Alleira Gallery, Jakarta
2014 - Group of Four Mural Artists, The Hall at Crane Arts, Philadelphia, PA
2014 - Philadelphia Artists, Gallery of the Chambers of Commerce, Philadelphia, PA
2013 - American Batik Design Exhibit, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Washington D.C.
2013 - Score & Slip, Marguerita Hagan & Pierre Trombert Studios, Philadelphia
2013 - Backpack Gallery Installation, 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA
2010 - PAFA Artists, Studio Christensen Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2010 - Selected Works, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA,
2010 - MFA Student Exhibit, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
2001 - The Figure Drawn, Leeds Central Gallery, Leeds, England
2000 - Pelukis Dari Bandung, Galeri Bandung, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia
1999 - Tasikmalaya Artist Group, Gedung Kesenian Gallery, Tasikmalaya, West Java, Indonesia
1998 - Tasikmalaya Artist Collective, Surya Gallery, Pangandaran, West Java, Indonesia
1984 - Selected Works, Southern Illinois University Gallery, Edwardsville, IL, US