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Notable Alumni: Featured

On this page we are currently featuring the two most recent recipients of the UArts Alumni Silver Star Award, presented in 2024 at the 146th commencement ceremony, as well as the two Silver Star award recipients from the 2023 commencement, and the four inaugural Alumni Award Honorees, awarded during UArts Weekend in September of 2023.

UArts' 2024 Silver Star Alumni Award Honorees 

Sidney Dupont

Ron Tarver








Sidney DuPont

UArts Class of 2013, BFA, Musical Theater


UArts Silver Star Alumni Award, 2024.

Sidney DuPont is a 2022 Tony Award nominee, and originated the role of Washington Henry in Paradise Square at the Barrymore Theater. Originally from Philadelphia, he began his training at the Creative & Performing Arts High School (2009) and continued at the University of the Arts (2013). He made his Broadway debut in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical in 2015 and continued with the show’s first national tour and its Australian company. Other national tours in which he performed include Memphis and A Chorus Line. DuPont’s regional credits include the world premiere of Hippest Trip: The Soul Train Musical at American Conservatory Theatre, Paradise Square at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Man of La Mancha at the Shakespeare Theater, In the Heights at Geva Theatre, and Gypsy at North Carolina Theater.

His TV and commercial credits include FBI: Most Wanted (CBS) and Cartier. DuPont has also stepped behind the scenes as a director, a choreographer, a cinematographer, and an award-winning screenwriter.

- UArts Commencement

Image Source: University of the Arts








Ron Tarver

UArts Class of 2017, MFA, Studio Art

UArts SIlver Star Alumni Award, 2024.


For nearly 50 years, photographer Ron Tarver’s work has explored facets of the Black community. Throughout his career he has produced photo essays on subjects ranging from double-Dutch jump rope to the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s. His exhibitions have explored Black architectural legacy and the experiences of Black veterans, and his most recent project appropriates images his father made in the 1940s-1950s to comment on the current racial climate. His broad range of works shows his love for the medium relating to the community at large and the deeply personal.

Tarver received a BA in Journalism and Graphic Arts from Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and an MFA from the University of the Arts. He is an associate professor and interim chair of Art at Swarthmore College. He is a Guggenheim and Pew Fellow. 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 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 GeographicLifeTimeNewsweekSports IllustratedEbonyJetBlack and White MagazineHuffington Post, and Hyperallergic. He is a co-author of the book We Were There: Voices of African American Veterans, published by HarperCollins in 2004, which was accompanied by a traveling exhibition that debuted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Tarver’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in over 30 solo and 50 group exhibitions. It is included in many private, corporate, and museum collections, including the National Museum of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the 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 and Grand Image in Seattle.

- UArts Commencement

Image Source: University of the Arts

UArts' 2023 Silver Star Alumni Award Honorees 

Dotty Attie

Clayton Reilly








Dotty Attie

PMCA Class of 1959, BFA, Art Education


Anonymous Was A Woman grant, 2018.

UArts Silver Star Alumni Award, 2023.

Dotty Attie BFA '59 (Art Education) was born in 1938 in Pennsauken, New Jersey, and is an acclaimed painter and one of the founders of A.I.R. Gallery, one of the first all-female cooperative art galleries in the U.S. Her work has been widely exhibited and is in many major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery in London and many other institutions.

Attie attended the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts), from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Following her time there, she continued her education through fellowships at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1960 and the Art Students League in 1967.

In 1972, she co-founded A.I.R., a nonprofit cooperative gallery and one of the first to exclusively feature the work of women artists. As an early artist-member, Attie helped the group choose a gallery space and recruit members. She also had her first solo show at the gallery in 1972. Later, she was an integral part of the gallery's establishment of an international presence and helped to secure shows in Paris, Israel and Japan.

Attie's personal style has remained fairly consistent throughout her career. She typically deconstructs existing images—such as Old Master paintings and early 20th century black-and-white photographs—and her works often includes text to create a narrative. Some of these pictures have been taken from the backgrounds of earlier work, bringing new perspectives to features that might have been formerly overshadowed. That approach produces a quality of differing scale, paired with short segments of text, which creates a cinematic quality throughout. The text and pictures are related but do not contribute to a clear narrative, allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks. Because Attie, at times, has meticulously repainted well-known works but presented them in fragments or with other modifications, her work has addressed the concepts of originality and reproduction.

Attie has received multiple grants, such as the Creative Artist Public Service Grant in 1967-1977 and the National Endowment for the Arts Grant, which she won in 1976-1977 and 1983-1984. She also was awarded an exchange grant to Japan, where she spent six months in 1985.

In addition to numerous honors in the art world, including her induction into the National Academy in 2013, Attie has the unusual distinction of having a punk band named after her: the female-led quartet Dottie Attie, which formed in 2013 and has since disbanded. Since 1959, Attie has lived and worked in New York City with her current partner, David Olan, a classical composer. She is represented by PPOW Gallery

- University of the Arts 145th Commencement Program, 2023

Image Source:








Clayton Reilly

UArts Class of 2006, BM, Instrumental Performance; Class of 2021, MAT, Music Education

Musician, Producer, Educator

UArts Silver Star Alumni Award, 2023.

Less than a year after graduating from University of the Arts with his Bachelor of Music, Clayton Reilly BM '06 (Instrumental Performance), MAT '21 (Music Education) was selected as a touring member of Corrine Bailey Rae's band. His hard work and dedication to his craft continued to pay off, as he spent the following five years on the road with musician, singer and songwriter John Legend. That incredible opportunity enabled Reilly to perform alongside notable artists such as Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder and Natalie Cole. In addition, he appeared with Legend's band at famous arenas around the world, on morning and late-night talk shows, and at President Barack Obama's Second Inaugural Ball.

Working with John Legend also opened the door for Reilly to learn more about life on the other side of the studio wall. In 2010, he co-founded and became CEO of Philly Phatboi Entertainment LLC. Reilly was also signed as a producer to BMG Chrysalis/Homeschool Records in a joint venture with Legend, and he worked with countless artists as a producer, a vocal arranger and a songwriter. His first Grammy nomination, in 2011, was in the Best R&B Album category for Ledisi's Pieces of Me. Two more followed in 2012 for Best Urban Contemporary Album for Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for John Legend and Ludacris' "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)," the latter of which went multi-platinum after spending seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Additionally, it earned him Soul Train's Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award. Fresh from that success, Reilly began working with Ne-Yo, who also served as his manager through Compound Entertainment from 2012-2015. During that time, he produced three songs on Ne-Yo's R.E.D. album: "Unconditional," "Jealous" and "Forever Now." Since then, Reilly has participated in panels for the Recording Academy, for which he is also an active voting member.

After returning to University of the Arts to earn his Master of Education degree, Reilly accepted a position with the Bethlehem School District (BASD) in Pennsylvania in 2022. His positive experiences as a student in the BASD gave him the confidence he needed to pursue music professionally, and now he hopes to inspire the next generation in his role as an elementary music teacher. When Reilly is not performing in the classroom, he can be heard at various venues all over the Lehigh Valley and abroad, working as a solo jazz artist, a studio musician, a music producer and a collaborator. He is grateful for all the lessons he learned and connections he made at UArts, and he is deeply honored to be one of this year's Silver Star Award recipients.

- UArts Commencement Program, 2023.

Image Source: University of the Arts Digital Collections

2023 UArts Alumi Award Honorees

Jeannie Cook

Jayson Musson

German Vazquez

Loveis Wise








Jeannine Cook

UArts Class of 2005, BFA, Communications.

UArts Class of 2014, MFA, Art Education.

Writer, Educator, Bookstore Owner

UArts Alumni Service Award, 2023.

Jeannine Cook was born in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to the BFA and MFA Cook received from the University of the Arts, she also earned an MFA at Drexel University. In 2020 Cook published her first book of short stories and opened Harriett's Bookshop in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 2021 she opened Ida's Bookshop in Collingswood, NJ. Her stated goal for both of these establishments is to highlight and celebrate women authors, artists, and activists.

Image Source: University of the Arts








Jayson Scott Musson

UArts Class of 2002, BFA, Photography


UArts Silver Star Alumni Award, 2013.

UArts Distinguished Alumni Award, 2023.

Jayson Scott Musson was born in the Bronx, New York in 1977. After attending the University of the Arts and receiving an MFA at the University of Pennsylvania, Musson first attracted public attention with a series of humorous videos about the art world entitled ART THOUGHTZ. Since then, Musson has risen to prominence as a multidisciplinary artist with solo and group exhibitions at galleries such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Whitechapel Gallery, Gallery Perrotin and Grimmuseum.

Image Source: University of the Arts








German Vazquez

UArts Class of 2020, BFA, Photography


UArts DEIA Award, 2023.

German Vazquez was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. After graduating from the University of the Arts, Vazquez worked as a professional editorial and artistic photographer. Vazquez's photography has been published by clients such as Condé Nast, Apple, and Smithsonian Magazine among others. He has also showcased his work as part of several group and solo exhibitions. As winner of the 2023 DEIA Alumni Award, Vazquez states,

My primary aim is to illuminate and uplift the narratives and experiences of BIPOC LGBTQIA+ individuals worldwide, with a particular emphasis on regions historically affected by colonization.

Image Source: University of the Arts








Loveis Wise

UArts Class of 2018, BFA, Illustration


UArts Young Alumni Award, 2023.

Loveis Wise was born in Washington, D.C. Almost immediately after graduating from The University of the Arts, an illustration of theirs was selected for the cover of The New Yorker, bringing them national renown. Since then, Wise has worked as a freelance illustrator for clients such as Google, Harper Collins, Apple, Dr. Marten, L'Oréal, The New York Times, and countless others. Wise has also illustrated several children's books.