About Us

Painted Bride Art Center brings together artists, audiences and communities to push the boundaries of how we create and experience art. We cultivate an environment for critical dialog and playful exchange to transform lives and communities.

Message from the Executive Director

Laurel Raczka, Executive Director

A Message from the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

On September 10th the Painted Bride will go to Orphan’s Court for approval of the sale of our property to a local architect/developer for $4.85M. We will present the work we did leading up to this decision and our future plans for streamlining our administrative functions and bringing our programming directly into the community to benefit a wider, more diverse audience.

We do not expect to get an immediate decision from the Court and we will communicate with you as soon as we receive a decision.

Sadly, a small but very vocal group of individuals, who don’t appear to fully understand our need to evolve and be responsive to changes in the arts environment have been working to undermine the sale of our building. While they call their efforts “Save the Bride;” their focus is solely on maintaining the building, not on maintaining and furthering the mission, vision and values of the Bride. They don’t appear to appreciate that saving the Bride requires selling the building.

Our board came to the difficult decision to sell our building based upon a multi-year research, analysis and planning process that included community input. The sale of our building will enable us to create a nimble organization that fulfills our mission and values, supports artists and presents programs to a wider, more diverse audience.

The Bride remains committed to Philadelphia artists, partnerships with diverse organizations and the power of the arts to impact the lives of people throughout our city. We are currently developing new programming with artists including Hannibal Lokumbe, Sebastienne Mundheim, Dance Iquail, Dante Green and Josh Walker for 2020, which will take us far beyond Old City. We remain firmly committed to supporting Philadelphia artists.

We are embracing our future with excitement and visioning endless possibilities. We have the support of our communities locally and nationally, including artists, partners and funders.

The hearing in Orphan’s Court is a public hearing, we have been advised that the Judge has informed all the attorneys involved that testimony will be limited to two hours, starting at 10am. Out of respect for the Judge we are not asking for anyone to speak other than our expert witnesses.

We are grateful for your support and we look forward to having you join us on our new journey.

Bride History

Original Bride location on South Street

Founded in 1969 by a group of visual artists, Painted Bride Art Center was part of the Alternative Space movement of the 1960s and 70s. In an era when underrepresented artists—women, gays and lesbians, people of color, the disabled, etc.—struggled to gain recognition from commercial institutions, the Alternative Space movement was dedicated to maximizing cultural diversity and visibility in the arts.Within a small network of organizations, Painted Bride Art Center strove to grant artists of every stripe full control over their work and a platform for their vision.

45 years later, Painted Bride Art Center remains an artist-centered project, fully committed to the creative process, the artist’s role in the community, and artistic diversity.

As a multi-disciplinary arts presenter, the Bride collaborates with independent artists, supporting their creative process from inception to presentation. This support manifests in myriad ways, including identifying funding opportunities, cultivating strategic partnerships for audience development, and championing artists and their work to a now international network of partners.

Painted Bride Art Center has presented music, dance, and theater, as well as visual arts exhibitions in its two galleries. The Bride engages artists in outreach and workshop activities to elicit deeper, more meaningful dialogue with audiences and communities; some examples include ongoing residencies, public gallery talks where visual artists discuss creative process, post-performance meet-and-greets, and in-school presentations for students between Kindergarten and 12th grade.

Deriving its name from its original location—a former bridal shop on South Street—Painted Bride Art Center began as an effort to challenge modern assumptions about art and give every artist the platform they deserved. Today, the Bride is an innovative, internationally-lauded arts institution that remains strongly rooted in its mission and the needs of Philadelphia’s creative communities.

Values of the Painted Bride Art Center

We value artists and their role as carriers of culture and tradition and guides to living creatively.

We value artistic collaborations that transcend conventional ideas and that present us with visions of how we might live.

We value the active participation of audiences and their interactions with artists, enabling them to experience something new.

We value the power of community to amplify dialogue about pertinent issues.

We value the schools, organizations and businesses that artists partner with to create opportunities for creative expression.

 Our Partners

Ars Nova Workshop        www.arsnovaworkshop.com

Asian Arts Initiative         www.asianartsinitiative.org

Barnes Foundation          www.barnesfoundation.org

Bread & Roses   www.breadandroses.org/

Bookworms Early Learning Center            http://bookwormselc.com

Campus Philly    www.campusphilly.org

Drexel University’s Center for Non Violence and Social Justice    http://www.nonviolenceandsocialjustice.org/

Drexel Univesity’s The Legacy Center     http://archives.drexelmed.edu/

Flying Kite           www.flyingkitemedia.com

Free Library of Philadelphia         www.freelibrary.org

Historical Society of Pennsylvania             https://www.hsp.org

Hope Partnership Charter School              www.hopepartnershipforeducation.org/

InLiquid                www.Inliquid.com

Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia   www.jasgp.org

Leeway Foundation        www.leeway.org

Mexican Cultural Center               www.Mexicanculturalcenter.org

Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church    www.motherbethel.org

National Museum of American Jewish History    www.nmajh.org

National Performance Network                www.npnweb.org

Odunde365        www.odundefestival.org/

PAPAYA                              www.PAPAYAlive.org

Philadelphia Academies Inc.        www.academiesinc.org

Philadelphia Jazz Project               www.philajazzproject.org

Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement    www.pypm215.org

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens     www.phillymagicgardens.org

PhillyCAM           https://phillycam.org

Reelblack             http://reelblack.com/

Scribe Video Center        www.scribe.org

Small But Mighty              www.smallbutmightyartsgrant.wordpress.com

Sruti       www.sruti.org

Temple University           www.temple.edu

The Library Company of Philadelphia      http://www.librarycompany.org/

Universal Vare Charter School    http://universalcompanies.org/education/vare-charter-school/

University of the Arts     www.uarts.edu

William Penn Charter School       www.penncharter.com

WURD   www.900amwurd.com

"The Bride was the first to present a full night of Rennie Harris Puremovement in Philadelphia in 1998. Since then, the Bride has been instrumental in presenting many other hip hop artists locally, nationally and abroad." -Rennie Harris

Staff

Laurel Raczka
Executive Director
215-925-9914 ext.
Lenny Seidman
Music Curator
215-925-9914 ext.
Keia Carter
Rentals, Communications and Operations Manager
215-925-9914 ext.

Board of Directors

  • John Barber, Board Chair
  • Jennifer Pouchot, Secretary
  • Michael Beck, Treasurer
  • Councilman Mark Squilla, Ex Officio
  • Sharon Barr
  • Daniel Cox
  • Gene Muller
  • Gail K. Lopez-Henriquez
  • E. Mitchell Swann
  • Harriet Rubenstein
  • Laurel Raczka

SPONSORS