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

On May 19, the Painted Bride hosted its 49th anniversary celebration, Dance with the Bride. As you may have heard, the Bride is venturing down a new road.  We are imagining a future that gives us the financial and creative capacity to sustain our important work and broaden our existing audience. 

After much consideration, we have made the difficult decision to sell our building at 230 Vine.  Let me be clear: The Painted Bride is NOT closing. With the proceeds of the building sale, we will secure a source of funds that will ensure the Bride can fulfill its central mission, which is to support artists who are committed to blazing paths of innovation that are transformative at the community level.

We know you have many questions, and I want to make sure I address some of the main ones here and now.


What will the Bride be in the future?

The point of this radical change is to be sustainable and responsive to artists and communities far into future. The planning process for the next phase will include assembling an advisory team of artists and core supporters to work closely with our leadership to imagine a new model for the Bride.  We see a future in which the Bride’s work spans the arts, sciences, and humanities by developing partnerships outside of the cultural community.

We don’t believe that our work should be limited to one building where only a few have access to events and programs. Our events should be as accessible to the residents of Nicetown, Point Breeze and Mantua as those in Old City. This innovative approach will expand our access to communities and ignite our creative endeavors, allowing us to bring new artistic pursuits to underutilized spaces throughout the city.

What will not change is our commitment to supporting artists and fostering diversity and inclusivity.  


 Why now?

The Painted Bride is world-renowned as a vanguard institution for ground-breaking artists. We want to do everything possible to ensure that we perform that role for years to come.

Our current business model is unsustainable and hasn’t been sufficiently updated to meet the needs of a transforming world and evolving audiences. We are committed to creating a new model that will allow the Bride to be increasingly responsive, flexible and agile in our rapidly changing times.


What will happen to the Building?

The property at 230 Vine Street will go up for sale with a local brokerage and the proceeds will be invested as a source of creative capital. The future use of the building will be in the hands of the next owner.


Will the Bride still have shows?

Yes. The Bride will continue to operate through October 2018. We are planning an exciting line-up of shows for this final season at 230 Vine Street.  All rental commitments will be fulfilled as planned.  

As the Bride’s 50th Anniversary approaches, there will be programs to celebrate its history and the innovative artists that have contributed to the organization’s journey.

We are committed to supporting artists and their work.  

We realize that going down this new path will not be easy.  But we are counting on you – our friends, artists, audiences, supporters, and champions – to be there with us as we as we do so, because YOU are the Bride. We will depend on your voice and your support throughout this process.

 Stay tuned. There’s much more to come.

As the Bride embarks on this new chapter, we hope you will consider supporting our future endeavors by making a tax-deductible gift right now before the end-of-year.   We need every seat filled for our outstanding line-up of artists and events in 2017-18.  Please keep in touch for more information about our upcoming lineup of events.  We want to hear from you.

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


Laurel Raczka
Executive Director
215-925-9914 ext.
Lenny Seidman
Music Curator
215-925-9914 ext.
April Rose
215-925-9914 ext.
Keia Carter
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