Jo Hanson was an American environmental artist and activist based in San Francisco, California. She moved to California in 1955, first living in Marin County, before settling in San Francisco in the early 1970s. Hanson obtained a Master of Education from the University of Illinois and a Master of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University. As an extension of her renovation work on the Nightingale House, Hanson set out to address the litter on her street. Her commitment to sweeping the sidewalk outside her home evolved into a public art project and citywide initiative against littering. Hanson's work was known for incorporating the detritus she collected while sweeping. She analyzed and classified what she found as a way of documenting daily life in her district and felt that it reflected a disconnect between the consumption and production of goods and the natural world. For six years during the 1980s Hanson was a vocal member of the San Francisco Arts Commission pushing for the inclusion of underrepresented artists in the city's art collections, specifically women and people of color. She also played a key role in saving the murals of Coit Tower and the restoration of the murals at Golden Gate Park's Beach Chalet. In 1990 Hanson conceived of and initiated the establishment of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology.