the artist

Vaughn Stubbs

Photo Credit: John F. Waggaman, II

Vaughn Stubbs

Philadelphia, PA

Vaughn Stubbs

Vaughn Douglass Stubbs, born in Reading, Pennsylvania, was the ninth of the ten children of Ruth and Earl Stubbs.  Vaughn knew from an early age that art was his calling.  After serving two tours of military duty in Vietnam as a field artist and conscientious objector, Stubbs applied and was admitted to the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts.  While attending the Academy, Vaughn won the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship to Europe and the Cecilia Beaux Prize for Drawing.  Vaughn excelled in all media at the school and after graduation, he began his career as a painter. 

Stubbs soon distinguished himself painting portraits of friends, and later painting masterly portraits of notables such as Frederick Douglass, Mahatma Gandhi, and Paul Robeson.  His portrait of Paul Robeson was commissioned by the Paul Robeson House and Museum in Philadelphia.  His reputation as one of the most creative and productive of Philadelphia artists is based on his work as a muralist, quilt maker, and jewelry designer.  Vaughn's jewelry is treasured by individuals and institutions everywhere, including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Design Museum Den Bosch, the Netherlands and others.

A life-long teacher, Vaughn founded and established the program titled “Form In Art,” sculpture classes for the visually impaired, at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 1974.  A classroom project that allowed the visually impaired of all ages to experience sculpture with all five senses.  Vaughn directed the program for over thirty-five years shortly before his death in January of 2016.

Additionally, Vaughn was an amazing cook and worked as a private chef for several clients in Philadelphia.  His private dinner parties were legendary.

Stubbs lives on in hundreds of private collections and museums around the world, including “Lizard Box” here at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Fast Facts

Name: Vaughn Stubbs

Place of Birth: Reading, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, Certificate, 1972
William A. Cresson Traveling Scholarship to Europe & North Africa, 1972

Significant or special training:
Shortly after graduation from Reading Senior High School in 1966, Vaughn was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam.  After his discharge from the Army, he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia. In 1972, Stubbs won the prestigious Cresson Traveling Scholarship and traveled throughout Europe and Northern Africa surveying art and architecture.

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA, Youth & Senior Citizen Instructor, 1990 – 1998
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, Instructor for the Blind, 1974 – 2016
Senior Adult Activity Center, Norristown, PA, Art Instructor, 1986 – 2000
Rowan University, Summer Art Classes for Seniors, 2009 – 2016
St. Rita’s Senior Center, Philadelphia, PA, Art Instructor, 1989 – 1991
Philadelphia Art Alliance, PA, Art Instructor, 1989 – 1990

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