James Daniel Burns is a native Philadelphian from the Great North East, a graduate of St. Bernard’s and Father Judge High School. He is an artist, designer, educator, and muralist based in Philadelphia. In 1999 James received a Bachelors of Science in Art Education from Kutztown University and later went on to receive a Master of Fine Art degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has been a visiting artist at The University of Penn, The University of the Arts, and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts., Kinston Arts Council in North Carolina and Rialto Youth Project in Dublin, Ireland and Kathmandu University in Nepal. 

James has exhibited at the State museum in Harrisburg, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Freeman’s Auction House in Philadelphia, and has been involved in a number of other noteworthy exhibitions in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. 

For the last 17 years James has been worked as an instructor, assistant artist, lead artist, and Director of Design Review with Mural Art Philadelphia. James’ work has lived primarily with the Porch Light Program under the Mural Arts umberella, but James also contributes in a varitety of activites as an acting member of the Mural Arts Staff. 

James has been working with the Mural Arts Philadelphia for 17 years. His work focuses on a process that is both communal and personal. James is known for doing projects at the highest level of engagement with fellow artists and community members. He is an artist that highly values community process and strives for a high level of craft in all facets of each endeavor. His work can be seen throughout Philadelphia. 


Initially it was color that drew me to painting, that, and the visceral qualities of paint. The various processes, stretching canvas, priming the material, even mixing the colors, all became  treasured rituals of making. Now the work has evolved into a vocation of shared experiences and these rituals have transformed into communal making and exploration that yields something that is larger than my individual pursuits, something that elevates the individual experience to a grand scale.