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TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image

Honoring Mary Brown and Ron Tarver

This year TILT will be honoring TILT’s Founding Trustee and visual arts support and advocate, Mary Brown and photojournalist, educator and artist, Ron Tarver, for excellence in the field of contemporary image making. These awards honor and celebrate individuals in the community who support the mission of TILT through their work and practice.

Ron Tarver

Ron Tarver received a BA in Journalism and Graphic Arts from Northeaster State University in Oklahoma and an MFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He is Associate Professor of Art at Swarthmore college. Before joining the faculty at Swarthmore, he had been a staff photojournalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 32 years where he shares the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for his work on a series documenting school violence in the Philadelphia public school system. During his time at the Inquirer, he was nominated for three Pulitzers and honored with awards from World Press Photos, the Sigma Delta Chi Award of the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Profession National Press Photographers Association/ University of Missouri Pictures of the Year, as well as other national, state, and local honors. 

In addition to his newspaper publications, Tarver’s work has appeared in National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Ebony, Jet, and Black and White Magazine, Huffington Post and Hyperallergic. He is co-author of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by Harper Collins in 2004, which was accompanied by a traveling exhibition that debuted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. 

Tarver has distinguished himself in the field of fine art photography. A recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and a Pew Fellowship, he has also received grants and funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and two Independence Foundation Fellowships. He was named one of the Delaware Valley’s “50 Rising Stars in the Arts” by Seven Arts Magazine and is a Fellow of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists. He is a former trustee of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center. 

Tarver’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 30 solo and 50 group exhibitions and is included in many private, corporate, and museum collections, including the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Oklahoma History Center, and many other corporate and private collections.  His work is represented by the Robin Rice Gallery in New York.

Mary Brown

Mary Brown joined TILT Institute (formerly Philadelphia  Photo Arts Center), as one of four founding Trustees in 2009 when the organization was the beginning of a big idea. For ten years, Mary graciously and generously served on the Board of Trustees. For nine of those years, Mary was the Board Chair. During that time, TILT saw rapid growth in programming, audiences served, and regional and national prominence.   

As the principal external representative of the organization, Mary led the effort to recruit and engage supporters and other partners in the arts and philanthropic community. She developed a Board with an emphasis on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and instituted policies to ensure that best practices were in place for all employees. During her tenure, TILT surpassed the programmatic and financial goals laid out at its founding.

Mary lived in Philadelphia for 25 years and has since relocated to Berkeley, California in part to be close to her granddaughter. Despite the distance, Mary still shows dedication to TILT by  serving as a member of TILT’s Advisory Council and continuing to be an active supporter and advocate for TILT.