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

Since the very beginning, two things have been an essential part of the Painted Bride: We support artists.  We are not afraid to blaze a new path.

The Bride started out in 1969 as an “alternative” space for a group of visual artists who wanted to show their work. These resourceful artists rented a storefront Bridal shop on South Street and made their own futures happen.  Next came the musicians, poets, dancers and theater artists… and soon they needed a performance space.  Again, the artist community of the Painted Bride forged their own path… with a parade right down 3rd Street to their new home in Old City where they built a 200-seat theater and gallery space.

It was in this home at 230 Vine Street that we honed our mission.  It was here that we shaped our values of diversity and inclusion.  And here that we grew into a place that nurtured artists of all genres and voices.  And after nearly 50 years and thousands of performances, the Painted Bride is world renowned as a vanguard institution for innovative artists.  We are committed to supporting artists and their work long into the future.  And so, as the world around us changes, we must be agile and adaptable to the social and economic changes that surround us.

So now, the Bride is venturing down a new road.  We are imagining a future that gives us the financial and creative capacity to continue our important work.  We will do this by selling our primary asset – our building at 230 Vine Street – in order to secure a flexible source of capital for investment.  With the proceeds of the building sale, we will ensure that the Bride can fulfill its central mission – supporting artists.  We realize that to really support artists into the future, we need to be truly nimble and responsive to whatever the arts eco-system needs. The Bride is daring to be fearless in our new art-making model.

The Bride will complete our 2017-2018 Season at 230 Vine Street with a fantastic line-up of shows that will celebrate our legacy and look forward to our exciting future.

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 leap into the future.  Stay tuned. There’s much more to come.


We Know You Have Many Questions…

What will the Bride be in the future?

The whole 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, responsive art-making model for the future.  We will seek out artist-led projects and facilitate their creation and development in venues throughout the city and in public spaces. Projects might include performances and exhibitions, as well as artistic experiences such as social interactions and conversations—all of which will be relevant to current issues.  Free from conventional boundaries or artistic disciplines, the Bride’s work will span the arts, sciences, and humanities by developing partnerships outside of the cultural community. One thing we know, we will remain committed to supporting artists and fostering diversity and inclusivity.  


What will happen to the Building?

The property at 230 Vine Street will go up for sales with a local brokerage and the proceeds will be invested as a flexible source of creative capital. The future use of the building will be in the hands of the next owner.  They may choose to operate it as a theater venue or they may have other plans.


Will the Bride still have shows?

The Bride will continue to operate through the end of this season in June 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 momentous 50th Anniversary approaches, there will be programs to celebrate the Bride’s history and the innovative artists that have contributed to the organization’s journey.  In the future, the Bride will continue to engage audiences with artists in both virtual platforms and physical spaces. The details will come to light as we continue to develop our new operating model.   


Why now?

It has become clear to us that the Bride’s business model is unsustainable and hasn’t been sufficiently updated to meet the needs of a transforming world and changing audiences and their expectations.  We appreciate that people are seeking to experience creative events in new and diverse ways, and realize there is intense competition for people’s time, money and energy.    We will  create a new model that will allow the Bride to be increasingly responsive, flexible and agile in our rapidly changing times. The Bride has opted to be proactive rather than reactive.

How can I continue supporting the Bride?

First, consider making a tax-deductible gift right now before the end-of-year and support the Painted Bride as we continue our journey and imagine our exciting new future.  Second, come out and join us for our final season at 230 Vine Street.  We need every seat filled for our outstanding line-up of artists and events in 2017-18.  And third, join us for our annual Bride gala scheduled for May 19 – the extra-special event will culminate our many years at 230 Vine Street as we honor our legacy and forge our new path.  Please stay tuned for more information about our upcoming shows and stay in touch on social media.  We want to hear from you. If you value the Bride, show your support with a donation to help launch our future.

Bride History

Original Bride location on South Street

Painted Bride Art Center is home to an intimate theater and gallery in Old City, Philadelphia.

Founded in 1969 by a group of visual artists, Painted Bride Art Center is 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 space, fully committed to the creative process, the artist’s role in the community, and artistic diversity.

As a multi-disciplinary arts venue, 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.

The Painted Bride today

In its unique performance space, Painted Bride Art Center presents 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. 304
Lenny Seidman
Music Curator
215-925-9914 ext. 308
Matthew Thompson
Director of Marketing & Operations
215-925-9914 ext. 302
Blake Felix DiDonato
Technical Director
215-925-9914 ext. 307
Lisa Solis
215-925-9914 ext. 309
Cheyenne Barboza
Rentals and Programs Manager
215-925-9914 ext. 305
Celeste DiNucci
Director of Development
215-925-9914 ext. 306
Kyle Jackson
Audience Services Manager
215-925-9914 ext. 301
April Rose
Marketing and Operations Assistant
215-925-9914 ext. 303

Board of Directors

  • Joan K. Sloan, Board Chair
  • Jennifer Pouchot, Secretary
  • Gene Muller, Treasurer
  • Councilman Mark Squilla, Ex Officio
  • John Barber
  • Michael Beck
  • Laurie Casaday
  • Daniel Cox
  • David Forde
  • Spencer Lewis
  • Gail K. Lopez-Henriquez
  • Erica Hope
  • Jennifer E. Jordan
  • Laurel Raczka
  • Harriet Rubenstein
  • E. Mitchell Swann