About Ron Howard

Ronald W. (Ron) Howard is a photographer, painter, poet and the current President of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center (MRAC), an art and humanities center in Philadelphia, which hosts many SVJ events. Howard involves himself in every aspect of the MRAC's activities. He has taken on such roles as Exhibitions Director and Curator of Exhibits. He has also been a contributor to the art center’s monthly shows, as well as featured artist, and participates in  poetry workshops and the Poetry Critique Circle offered by MRAC’s Humanities Division. He even makes a photographic record of poetry readings and literary events at the center. 

Howard grew up in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area and now resides in Philadelphia. He completed undergraduate studies at Rutgers University with a BA in History. Along with his talents as a visual artist and writer, and his appreciation of the arts, Howard has brought his non-profit organizational development and international institution building skills to MRAC. He was Chief Operations Officer for the Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI) for more than thirty years and served from 2004 to 2007 as the organization’s Acting CEO, prior to his retirement in 2007. The global OIC movement was started in Philadelphia by Rev. Leon H. Sullivan.  

Before joining OICI, Howard was the Director of the Temple University Neighborhood Extension Program, College of Education, from 1971 to 1974. The program’s mission was to bringthe educational, counseling and human resources of an urban University to work in developing an alternative ABE/GED program responsive to the needs ofthe low-income neighborhoods which surrounded it. Prior to that Howard was the Program Manager for the Adult Armchair Education Program, for OIC America, in Philadelphia, and served as the first Minority History Instructor, in the innovative prevocational training experiment called the Feeder Program. He also hosted a 75 part consumer education television series, “The Thing About Money”, which was produced by the Westinghouse Broadcasting Company.

“The Emerging Art of RWH” is an exhibition of Howard’s oil and watercolor paintings and photographic work that will have its opening reception at the Roxborough Development Corporation’s RoxArt Gallery on Friday, March 20, 2015 from 6:00 to 9:00 P.M. The exhibit runs through Friday, April 3rd. RoxArt’s hours are 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday. This is a revival of the show Howard presented at MRAC in October, 2014 and features a series of watercolor paintings inspired by the oil portrait works of Oswaldo Guayasamin, the Ecuadorean master artist. 

Included in the exhibit are vibrant, textured portrait oil paintings based on models from painting classes at Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia. In addition to MRAC and RoxArt, Howard has exhibited his work at Fleisher, the Philadelphia Sketch Club, the Ambler and Manyunk Art Festivals, Philadelphia City Hall, and Center on the Hill, among other venues. His artwork has also received awards for best in photography and best in watercolor at MRAC’s Annual Juried Show.

Howard’s photography illustrates the range of his technique and the breadth of his subject matter. His images of buildings and sculptures such as, “Gehry in NYC”, and, “Space Spire”, demonstrate not only his keen observation but also his attention to point of view. The images depicted in, “Light Tunnel”, “Window Lights” and, “Holiday Shapes”, transform three-dimensional reality into colorful abstractions. They are reminiscent of a kaleidoscope’s images but are far more satisfying because they transcend the uniformity and predictability of the device. As in his oil portraits and watercolors, the artist demonstrates his versatile sense of composition in these photographs.

SVJ Online is currently featuring a few of the more than 100 photographs that Howard took at Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum. Prominently displayed outside the museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, “The Thinker”, may be Auguste Rodin’s best known sculpture, especially to Philadelphians and visitors to the city. Howard’s photographic examination of the sculptor’s masterful renderings of humanity will undoubtedly whet viewers’ appetites to visit the museum.

By David Kozinski