The Main Line Art Center is hosting a free lecture on Ellen Tiberino and her family’s creative and social contributions to the community at large.
The reasons why Ellen Tiberino stands out are many. For starters, she’s the only daughter and namesake of Ellen Powell Tiberino, a renowned artist who “infused the figurative tradition with an African American spirit”. Her father, Joseph Tiberino, was also an artist.
Secondly, she’s an accomplished mosaic artist who’s taken a different path than her equally talented and prolific brothers Raphael and Gabriele. As a result, she represents a rich tradition of Black identity and experience that pushes the boundaries of artistic exploration.
In her account, the artist shares that the journey to discovering her own art truths was not without detours.
“I always fought the family business because I mean, we grew up inundated and surrounded by art,” explained Tiberino. “My parents always had different artists over and we were always taking art classes at Fleisher Art Memorial or Moore College of Art. And I have a tendency that wherever I’m pushed, I’m gonna go the other way. I always like to joke that I could have saved myself a lot of money in student loans studying to be a history teacher had I known I was going to be going to the family business.”
Ellen Tiberino continued: “I started working with (visual artist) Gail Scuderi in 2003, 2004 being her assistant on some mosaic workshops and the light bulb went off. I was having more fun than the students and that was like my aha moment. And then it was just onward and upward from there.”
Inspired by her love of nature, travel, and family, the West Philly native considers her work to be a healing balm for both herself and participants. As part of “Opposing Forces,” Ellen Tiberino created a mosaic overlaying a mural of natural landscapes with dozens of housing insecure artists alongside artist Alvin Hull in the SEPTA concourse west of City Hall.
“We were just coming out of COVID when I started the first part of that project to work with the housing challenge community in suburban station teaching the mosaic workshops and it was a wonderful experience,” beamed Tiberino.
The artist continued: “I’m very proud of that work. It was my first big mural for MAP and be there on center stage and be able to have the whole city look at my work – and right above on the across from LOVE Park is my father (Joe Tiberino) and (Gabe) my brother’s murals. Just be able to consider continuing the family tradition by being in the company their work is fantastic.”
The Tiberino family’s contributions as creatives and social activists will be the subject of a lecture during Black History Month on Thursday, February 17, 2022. “Ellen Tiberino: Continuing the Tiberino Legacy in Art” at the Main Line Art Center Gallery, 6 – 8pm is free but tickets are required. Get them HERE.