In honor of Moore’s 175th anniversary year, we are proud to present a new series that celebrates some of the College’s most accomplished and inspiring graduates, from the early days to the present.

We have dubbed these distinguished Moore alumni "ALUMINARIES," to celebrate the light they have brought and will continue to bring to the world through their brilliant achievements and pioneering work in the art and design fields. 

Meet some of our first Aluminaries below and follow us on social media @moorecollegeart to keep up with future entries in the series.


The Philadelphia 10

The Philadelphia Ten

In 1917, a new all-women’s group of painters began exhibiting their work together, calling themselves the Philadelphia Ten. All 10 of them had been educated in Philadelphia art schools, but most members had graduated from the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art & Design), making the Philadelphia Ten an important part of Moore alumni history.

Their decision to exhibit their work on their own terms marked one of the first times female artists took control of their careers and, in return, they faced gender bias and discrimination. As Nina de Angeli Walls writes, "The Philadelphia Ten challenged conventional expectations for women, but faced critical reviewers who never let them forget that their work would be judged as women’s work."

The group would go on to work and show together for nearly 30 years, evolving to include 30 painters and sculptors across 65 exhibitions—showing longer and more widely than any other all-women’s group among American artists. 

"While the work of the Philadelphia Ten has often been described as conservative, they were an important vehicle for bringing high-quality artwork done by women to the attention of the public. Little known today, in their time this group of painters was well respected, widely shown, and aggressively patronized during the 28 years they formally exhibited together."

—Page Talbott, Director of Museum Outreach, Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships


Anna Russell Jones

Anna Russell Jones '24

Jones was the first Black graduate of Moore, known then as the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (PSDW). She completed studies in geometric construction, nature: convention and application, historic ornament, perspective, composition, theory of color, history of art, charcoal, posters and other areas of design. Jones received several prizes at her commencement. After 1945, she attended Howard University Medical School (now Howard University College of Medicine) and trained in medical illustration. She observed Black physicians and illustrated procedures done on Black patients.

Jones received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Moore in 1987 and died at the age of 93 in 1995, the same year she was honored as one of the first to receive Moore’s Distinguished Alumni award. Moore continues to honor her legacy today through the Anna Russell Jones Award, created to provide funding for supplies to students who may benefit from the additional support.

An exhibition about Jones' work and career, Anna Russell Jones: The Art of Design, curated by Moore graduate alum Huewayne Watson MFA '18, was shown at the African American Museum in Philadelphia in 2021. The exhibition covered details from Jones’ family and early life, including photographs and ephemera; details from her time at PSDW; original rug, carpet and wallpaper designs; and archived documents and correspondence from her time as an in-studio designer and freelancer for James G. Speck Studios and other carpet and rug companies.

"I am inspired by Anna Russell Jones’ critical will to think, act and work in the defense of art as a viable path in life. From her early years, she had a vision and an aim in life—to be an artist. As a Black woman in the United States, she resisted and transcended some of the most egregious limitations placed on Black people in the Americas while still maintaining her genuine appreciation for, affinity to, and commitment to the advancement of the arts."

—Huewayne Watson MFA ’18


Alice Neel

Alice Neel '25 

Neel is one of the great American painters of the 20th century and a pioneer among women artists. She focused on people, landscapes and still life in her work, and painted portraits of many great artists, including Andy Warhol and Frank O’Hara, well-known American poet and curator at the Museum of Modern Art.

Neel tried to humanize her subjects within her art, and used her paintings to convey the struggles of her subjects. She preferred to be known as a "collector of souls." Her work was strongly influenced by her neighbors in Spanish Harlem, where she lived from 1938–1962. She painted individuals of all races, not often depicted in art during that time. 

A trailblazer for women in the art world, Neel painted female nude portraits, which at the time were controversial, as they questioned women’s traditional roles. She became known for painting pregnant women and is famous for her first self-portrait, done nude at the age of 80, challenging art-world norms that favored a focus on younger women.

"[Neel] knew that the first mark of being political was looking: seeing what was done to others in this world, and how the afflicted became afflicted."

—Hilton Als in Alice Neel, Uptown for Vice


Edith Jaffy Kaplan

Edith Jaffy Kaplan '40

As the first female art director of an American advertising agency—a career milestone that she reached only two years after graduating from Moore—Kaplan was already a success in her field. But she did not stop there, continuing outside the agency as an artist, teacher, lecturer, freelance graphic designer and community volunteer. In 1967, she published a folio of woodcuts titled Voices of the Revolution to honor those who had committed themselves to the cause of civil rights. Several sets of the folio remain in the collection of the State Museum of Pennsylvania.

Moore honored Kaplan with an Outstanding Alumni Award in 1973 and a posthumous honorary doctorate in Fine Arts in 1996, and in early 2023, the State Museum of Pennsylvania presented Voices of the Revolution once more.

"Edith Kaplan’s woodcuts for Voices of the Revolution, published in 1967 at the height of American Civil Rights Movement, used color, line and powerful imagery to commemorate not only the suffering, fear and violence, but also the hope, brotherhood and courage of that moment. 'I hope that by sharing my feelings through my art, I not only honor those who struggled so innocently and valiantly,' Kaplan wrote at the time, 'but also perhaps inspire tomorrow’s children to remember that nothing in America is ever finished.' Her work is as relevant and powerful today as it was then."

—Amy Hammond, Curator of Fine Arts, State Museum of Pennsylvania


Adrienne Vittadini

Adrienne Vittadini '66 

Vittadini is an internationally renowned fashion designer who launched her namesake lifestyle brand in 1979. She originally started the business as a hobby alongside her husband, Gianluigi Vittadini, but it quickly grew into a multimillion-dollar international fashion brand.

Vittadini is credited with making fashion more attractive and affordable for women across the country. She is known for creating pieces that are both sophisticated and practical. Vittadini loves working with bright colors and patterns, particularly on knitwear. According to an interview with the New York Times, Vittadini "enjoys working with yarns and machines to develop different weights and textures." Vittadini’s brand is licensed internationally and has expanded beyond women’s knitwear to include footwear, handbags and other accessories. She sold her company in 1996.

More recently, Vittadini has pursued her passion for architecture and design and is working as an interior designer. She currently works with her husband on developing luxury residential properties and as a design consultant. 

"I want to create excitement. Clothes have to say, 'take me away!'"

—Adrienne Vittadini


Jane Walentas

Jane Walentas '66 

Walentas was a New York artist and philanthropist most known for her impact on DUMBO, Brooklyn’s landscape and arts community. She was the driving force behind the restoration of Jane’s Carousel, located in the DUMBO neighborhood. Originally designed and built in 1922, Walentas and her husband David purchased the carousel at an auction in Youngstown, OH. She worked for over 20 years to restore all 48 carousel horses. The carousel now stands as a landmark in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Walentas also served as executive director for the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, which awarded rent-free non-living studio space to 17 visual artists for year-long residencies in DUMBO. Earlier in her career, she was a packaging designer for Estée Lauder.

Along with her husband David, Walentas is credited with providing the largest-ever gift to Moore College of Art & Design, which resulted in the Walentas Visionary Honors Scholarships, offered each year to 10 non-Pennsylvania residents accepted to Moore who display exceptional artistic and academic promise. In addition, she and David also generously funded the Jane Walentas '66 Endowed Scholarship and International Travel Fellowship for students and the David and Jane Walentas Endowed Fellowship for visiting artists. 

Jane's Corner, a cozy haven for students to study, socialize and connect outside of classes, complete with an active fireplace and in close proximity to the Moore Café, reminds Moore's community every day of her many contributions. Walentas was a member of Moore’s Board of Trustees until her passing on July 5, 2020.   

"Jane was a global thinker, always out of the box and yet able to understand our students' needs. I think Jane kept coming back to Moore because she was grateful for her education and the support, camaraderie and warmth of her fellow students and professors. She is an inspiration to us all—someone to look to and to emulate for her kindness, generosity and humbleness."

—Fran Graham ‘66, Chair, Moore College of Art & Design Board of Trustees

"To have a friend for more than 60 years is a gift of nature. I met Jane on our first day of college in 1962. She was honest and she was thoughtful, weighing comments and answers to questions carefully. Jane was dedicated to promoting art through many of her philanthropic organizations, offering studios and possibilities for artists to achieve recognition. In his book DUMBO, Paul Goldberger's dedication is to Jane Walentas, without whom 'there would be no DUMBO.'"

—Jane Young Likens '66


Sharon J. Wohlmuth '75 

Moore has had its fair share of illustrious graduates, but perhaps none has become as well known to everyday Americans as the photojournalist Sharon J. Wohlmuth, who died in 2022 at age 75. Published by Philadelphia’s Running Press in 1994 after being turned down by major publishers, Wohlmuth's first book, Sisters, a collaboration with the writer Carol Saline, sold more than a million copies and stayed on the New York Times' nonfiction bestseller list for a whopping 63 weeks. Doubleday took note and offered the duo a contract for two more books, Mothers and Daughters (1997) and Best Friends (1998), both of which made the Times' bestseller list.

Though Wohlmuth clearly had a talent for capturing intimacy between her subjects, she proved her mettle on a different stage before that stunning success. Shortly after graduating from Moore in 1975, Wohlmuth became one of the first two women photographers on the staff of the Philadelphia Inquirer. She shot pictures to accompany local events as well as stories of national and international importance, from the 1979 partial meltdown of the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island—coverage that won the Inquirer a Pulitzer Prize—to Somalia, two years later, where she photographed its refugee camps.

—Edith Newhall, Art Critic, Philadelphia Inquirer

Click to return to the Fall/Winter 2023 issue of Moore Magazine.