Born in 1920, Joe Crilley began to draw and paint as a child, and went on to study at the Philadelphia College of Art, and the Graphic Sketch Club. He moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania in 1948 and has remained a resident of the area. Crilley taught art in the New Hope - Solebury schools for six years, and worked as a professional photographer for 30 years in schools and museums in the United States and Europe. When the New Hope Community Center, located near the Bucks County Playhouse, was active, Crilley exhibited with many local artists including Spencer, Leith-Ross, Folinsbee, Garber, Coppedge and Redfield.
Acclaimed for his extraordinary use of color, Crilley has exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia Sketch Club, National Academy of Design, Salmagundi Club, Audubon Artists and the Allied Artists in New York City, Woodmere Art Gallery, Phillips Mill, Trenton City Museum and Liscombe Lodge in Nova Scotia. His paintings are in collections in Australia, England, Italy, France, Canada and the U.S.
Joe Crilley died in 2008.