The Painted Bride Art Center (the Bride) is committed to supporting artists, fostering diversity and inclusivity, and providing a safe and welcoming environment for artists, audiences and communities to explore the human experience and examine issues of social justice. Building on our 50-year legacy, the Bride continues to work with artists and communities with a focus on programs that present the provocative and often marginalized and overlooked voices of our time.
The Bride has always occupied a unique artistic space in Philadelphia’s arts and culture ecology. Much more than a venue that simply “books” artists, the Bride has always worked with artists, guiding and supporting them as they workshop and test their ideas; network and collaborate with other creatives; find partners; outreach to communities; market their work around the country and fundraise.
After an exhaustive multi-year process, the Bride board voted unanimously in 2017 to sell our building, invest the proceeds and use the investment income to bring the work of artists and change-makers beyond our walls, beyond our neighborhood, and out into the many disparate communities of Philadelphia through dynamic partnerships. By leveraging our 50 years of experience in supporting artists, realizing projects, and building relationships across the city, the Bride is poised to model a new kind of placemaking: one that trusts in people to shape the futures of their own neighborhoods. This creative evolution enables the Bride to achieve its mission through a variety of projects that allow for adaptation, scale, and reinvention.
Legal interventions relating to the preservation of the mosaic which envelops our building, along with delays and limitations due to the pandemic, have slowed but not deterred implementation of our vision.
To explore new leadership models that give artists more decision-making power with respect to budget allocation, marketing and other aspects of project envisioning and realization.
To develop new programming that engages with and responds to the needs and strengths of specific communities and our city overall, with the goal of helping to address the challenges our city and its neighborhoods face.
To build new networks and partnerships beyond arts and culture organizations to facilitate cross-disciplinary collective thinking and sharing of resources.
We believe that our work is to support Philadelphia artists and communities, particularly by providing a platform for black and brown artists and communities to create, express, and influence how our neighborhoods and our city will evolve.
We believe that our relationships and the trust that artists, partners and audiences have in our organization are our priceless resources.
We believe that we will have far greater capacity to innovate with and respond to artists and communities when we are no longer burdened with an out-of-date and expensive-to-maintain building.
We believe artists can lead the way in identifying and designing what is needed to create more just, equitable and thriving communities.
The Bride is not a building. The Bride is a way of working with artists, a set of values and strong relationships across the city.
The pandemic and the protests for racial justice highlighted the tremendous need for new ways of thinking and doing and we believe that artists can be leaders in creating empathetic and creative paths forward.
Right now, the Bride should focus on Philadelphia and the artists, residents and neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
Who are our partners in change-making and how can we expand those partnerships?
What are the most urgent issues facing the communities of Philadelphia that the Bride, our artists and partners could begin to address?
What are the most effective ways for the Bride to continue building community without a fixed location?
What are the most effective ways for the Bride to support artists’ creative processes without necessarily having a final ticketed performance or piece of art for sale?
What are the new practices of social engagement where artistic process becomes more important than a final performance or work of art, with a goal of shifting historic ideas and ways of doing things?