Category Archives: Tyler School of Art

John James Pron, PHILLY AND ME: for better or worse, for richer or poorer…


CERULEAN ARTS GALLERY 1355 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia 267-514-8647
My solo show of 20 rendered collages is displayed at Cerulean from 5 Jul thru 30 Jul 2023. The In-person reception is Sat 8 Jul 2-5 pm and the virtual tour & talk is Weds 19 Jul 2023 at 6pm (must zoom register. Gallery hours are Weds thru Fri 10m-6pm, Sat & Suns 12pm thru 6pm. I may also be at the gallery several Wednesdays. Welcome to come visit.

Theme: As a lifelong Philadelphian (mostly), I explore aspects of the city I love as well as worry about, look at its extraordinary-though checkered- history, and present ideas and images for its future. As an architect and teacher, I can’t stop commenting, pencils in hand.
MY PHILLY…for better or worse, for richer or poorer…


I am a lifelong Philadelphian- mostly.  I was born in Northern Liberties, raised in the Northeast’s Oxford Circle, rented apartments in West Philadelphia and have lived for over fifty years right across the city’s boundary at Cheltenham Avenue.  I went to Philly schools- grammar, high school, undergraduate and graduate.  And I worked all of my professorial life in North Philadelphia.   My wife has long been intimately connected to this city’s healthcare community and both daughters attended Philadelphia universities.  


I am also an architect by profession- certainly a creative artist, but one who was trained to balance my willful imagination with an ingrained moral and ethical responsibility to improve the lives of people, of the health of the community, the viability of cities and indeed the survival of this planet.  For almost 40 years, I was fulltime professor in Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture, nurturing students to believe in themselves as creative forces but also to take responsibility for bettering the world.   In this case, the artist is also a problem-solver. In my design practice and teaching, I specialized in ‘adaptive reuse’- preserving the essential character of a building (its ‘soul’), while adjusting spaces and functions for changing needs.  


And so, in this solo gallery show, my mode of expression is the juxtaposition of existing images by others (photos or lithographs, archival or current) against my hand-drawn “reimaginings” of the place, the usage, or the meaning.  It’s a both/and strategy.   While it does make for interesting and unusual images to display, what is more important is that I am using my architectural-art skills to raise awareness of critical issues affecting human lives, even advocating for important social changes.  And so, along with the needed information, I am seeking to make an emotional impact on the viewer through my graphics. 


Picasso did just that in his monumental Guernica- maybe the most powerful anti-war painting in history.  More recently, visual artists such as Keith Haring, Banksy and Ai Weiwei do the same on contemporary issues.  The viewer may appreciate the artistic qualities, but one is also asked make a personal decision over the content: take a stand, get involved, connect to  others, contribute as you can.  Do something.

You can view my professional and academic career (including past gallery shows, architectural designs, lectures, etc) and my bio on my website  



This is a city that I love- its parks and neighborhoods, its grand public buildings and cultural institutions, its superlative universities and breathtaking skyscrapers.  I also love its diversity…old with young, residents and visitors, extraordinary festivals near quiet enclaves, polished gentility and in-your-face grit.  A city of many races, many backgrounds, many beliefs. But I also fret about this city: the things that tear it apart, the endemic problems growing ever larger, the social behaviors that destroy unity and civility.  Here are my pleasures as well as my concerns, my savoring of its (sometimes checkered) past, my images suggesting a brighter future.  Warnings and wishes….I can only hope the new next mayor can rise to the challenge.

Thank you to John James Pron for the content of this post.

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Save the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy

iradiophilly started this petition to Mayor of Philadelphia Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny and 2 others

Link to petition

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a revised budget for fiscal year 2021 in response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic on May 1, 2020. Businesses have been closed and workers have been off the job for weeks, reducing the city’s tax revenue significantly. The Office of the Department of Finance projects that without any changes the city would have a $649 million deficit next year. The city cannot legally operate with a deficit. We understand that hard decisions needed to be made and that cut backs and program budget reductions were inevitable. However, to completely eliminate an office that supports a vital industry in the city of Philadelphia, especially one that has been hit very hard during this crisis, is short sighted and should be reversed.

In the new budget, the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy was budgeted $0 dollars, down from approximately $4.4 million, effectively closing the office. Most of that budgeted money goes directly to the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, which gives grants to hundreds of non-profits in the city.

The presentation of the budget by the Mayor is only the first step. It still must be approved and voted on by City Council before July 1. 

SEE: Mayor’s Operating Budget – re: page 80
SEE: Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney Delivers New Budget by Video; Jobs/Services Cuts, Tax Hikes

According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the arts and cultural sector generates $4.1 billion in economic impact annually and supports 55,000 jobs. That creates $1.3 billion in household income and $224.3 million in state and local taxes.* The creative economy includes but is not limited to artists, musicians, painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, filmmakers, graphic designers, venues, theaters, museums, galleries, bartenders, waiters, chefs, box office workers, bouncers, sound engineers, tech crews, art/dance/recording studios, and all employed by those entities, as well as support industries such as accountants, lawyers, hotels, ride shares, parking, public relations, marketing, and media. On the other side there are the fans, patrons, concert goers, theater attendees, and more who support the arts and make the purchases.

Most of this industry has been shut down during this crisis and needs support now more than ever to rebound during the economic recovery.

The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy’s mission is to close the gap in access to quality cultural experiences and creative expression through the support and promotion of arts, culture and the creative industries; connecting Philadelphians to enriching, arts-infused experiences; linking local artists and cultural organizations to resources and opportunities; and preserving the City’s public art assets.

The OACCE is also responsible for the Music Industry Task Force, the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, Art in City Hall, all of Philadelphia’s public art, and funding the Philadelphia Cultural Fund which gives grants to numerous Philadelphia arts and culture non-profits.

Philadelphia is a vibrant city teeming with culture that has been driving our identity for hundreds of years. The art created in Philadelphia reaches well beyond its borders and has touched the world and helps drive our other industries through attention and attraction to our area. As we look to rebound and recover from this crisis, there are certainly sectors that are essential to our health and safety and must be prioritized. However, unless we take care to ensure our cultural health is also revived, we risk losing our spirit.

Philadelphia’s creative economy deserves proper representation in City Hall. Understandably, it is likely not possible for the OACCE to be budgeted at the same level as the original budget, however, the industry’s economic impact alone justifies that the office’s budget be more than zero. We are simply asking that the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy not be eliminated.

* a petition of your ownThis petition starter stood up and took action. Will you do the same?Start a petition


Over 6,200 Support the Creative Economy in Philadelphia!Thank you for all your support! Let’s keep the momentum going. Artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, back stage, front of house, all venue/gallery workers, recording studios, producers, photographers, video…iradiophilly5 days agoMore updates

Streets Dept signed this petition

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Ted Warchal signed 10 minutes ago

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Tom Brady

Tom Brady, Borrelli's Chestnut Hill GalleryTom Brady, Cottman Bus People, oil on canvas, 40″ x 53″

Tom Brady, New Paintings

Join Borrelli’s Chestnut Hill GalleryOne East Gravers Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19118 for an Artist’s Reception with renowned oil-painter, Tom Brady 10/7/17 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Exhibit 10/1- 10/21

Thomas G. Brady attended the Heatherly School of Art, London, England in 1972. He received a BA from Amherst College, attended the New York Studio School and received his MFA from the Tyler School of Art in 1982. Tom has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the East Coast. He was the recipient of a painting Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a Pew Fellowship Award and the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant in 2000. His work is included in the permanent collections of  the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum, The Woodmere Art Museum, and the Mead Art Museum. His work is also in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the country including Widener University, Morgan Stanley, Lenfest Foundation, SmithKline, Saul Ewing, Drinker Biddle, Blue Cross and Core States Bank.

Tom Brady, Borrelli's Chestnut Hill GalleryTom Brady, Maggie’s Car Repair, oil on canvas, 30″ x 40″

Tom Brady’s paintings differ from the antiquated 19th century Philadelphia tradition of realism, the aesthetic associated with the teachings of the Academy. They are instead in the tradition of the Blaue Reiter and Fauvist art movements. This aesthetic emphasizes painterly qualities and strong color more than realistic representation. The metaphor created by Brady’s work speaks to the experience of the moment and to the place where reality meets abstraction..

Group Show in Center Gallery

Don’t Miss the exceptional Artists in Borrelli’s Chestnut Hill Gallery during the month of October, as well.  Featuring Helene Halstuch, Judy McCabe JarvisDan Brewer and Betz Green.  Most will be on hand at 10/7 reception to greet and meet.  Please check the Gallery website for examples of their work.

Tom Brady, Borrelli's Chestnut Hill GalleryTom Brady, Through The Trees, oil on canvas, 28″ x 37″

Artist Statement

“Art always makes a political statement. Half of art is what you choose to paint, the other half how you paint it. I choose to paint workers, people on the streets, landscapes inhabited by family farmers invisible to the corporate life. I grew up the only son of a truck driver when unions equaled freedom and workers were crusaders in the cause.

On a chilly morning, I stand off to the side, color pastels and sketchbook in hand; people are huddled, waiting and watching; cabbies sip coffee; black suits rush by. The bus pulls up, the old guy stands, cane leading, he moves in line to board. The bus, the line, the man and the cane create the moment, and my frantic drawing begins.

In the studio with fifty colors and just as many brushes, music blaring, I attack the painting. All at once, creation in a moment, cover all the canvas, mark against mark, movement and counter movement, yellow always yellow, gobs of white, cans of turpentine, piles of rags. Paint over paint, colors upon colors makes new colors, sensuous and gestural. What are the essentials, what is real, what is important, what is true?

Two processes are intricately related, the initial inspiration of the street pastel and the physical transformation of the image into paint. These are simple processes as long as you are willing to throw out forty of the fifty initial pastels and from the few that are really are inspirational, willing to make fifty new preparatory drawings. Then you paint for 40 years, hope and pray and with a little luck, the culmination of the processes has magically taken on a life of its own.”

Check Out Tom’s Youtube channel for more samples of his work:

Thank you to Tom Brady for the content of this post.

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Lucy Helena Van Ellis, UnderlandForest, photography, Lucy Helena Van Ellis

Underland; Senior Thesis Photography Exhibition, Lucy Helena Van Ellis,

Tyler School of Art

Tyler School of Art at Temple University, 2001 N. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122.

November 30 – December 9, 2015.

Opening Reception: Friday, December 4th, 6:00 – 9:00pm

“A series created by graduating senior photography major, Lucy Helena Van Ellis will be exhibited at the Tyler School of Art in the lower atrium from November 30th, through December 9th. You are invited to join Van Ellis in her opening reception on December 4th from 6 – 9PM.

The series includes nine 45 x 30 inch prints paired with a video element. Van Ellis has been working on her series ‘Underland’ for the past year by experimenting with the use of fabric, projections and movement in her images to create scenes that appear to be manipulated with post-processing, but are not. Her images stray far from a traditional black and white photograph but are sure to entice the viewer with the world in which she created. The series is an enchanting and whimsical take on a place that does not exist, a place that can not be right or wrong.

Lucy Helena Van Ellis is primarily known for her presence throughout social media, her features with MTV, Teen Vogue and her collaborations with Lilly Pulitzer,, Daniel Wellington and more. Along with her being a photographer, she utilizes her networking and marketing skills to establish her brand as an influencer and blogger. Her final thesis show demonstrates her ability to push the limits while practicing her fine art photography.” – Lucy Helena Van Ellis

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