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The local art legend was born to Ernest and Cecelia Tiberino on July 8, 1938, in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. After attending Saint Boniface Parish School and Saint Joseph’s Prep, Tiberino entered the Philadelphia Museum School of Art (now the University of the Arts), where he cultivated a passion for mural painting, studying the works of Michelangelo to Diego Rivera.On a fateful evening in the early 1960s,


Joe’s artistic fervor further prospered when he met fellow artist Ellen Powell at her going away party after finishing her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

After marrying in May of 1967, the creative couple settled in a single home in Powelton Village before acquiring three more houses that eventually became the Tiberino compound, encompassing a garden of murals, mosaics and their four children.


Joe’s craft was not confined by the parameters of his compound. For half a century, his work as a muralist, easel painter, print maker and filmmaker ensued his stature as a protest painter in Philadelphia.

As Joe instituted his artwork throughout the city, obtaining such recognitions as the Abbey Austin Fellowship, he concurrently built a venue for fellow Philadelphian artists. From 1980-1992, he was proprietor of the Bacchanal, a cultural hub showcasing the work of artists from painters to playwrights.


In October 1999, Joe transformed the family compound into the Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, following her passing in February of 1992 after a 14-year battle with cancer.


Mr. Tiberino was a productive and respected painter, printmaker, muralist, and filmmaker for more than 50 years. He drew, painted in oils and watercolors, and created mixed-media murals and mosaics.

The themes were often religious, leavened with whimsy.


Shoot the Buffalo by Joe Tiberino</