Bride Next: Listening to Emerging Artists

Painted Bride Art Center was founded 46 years ago with the mission to help artists refine their creative process, build audiences, and get their voices heard. So much has happened since then—politically, socially, technologically. We thought it was time that we learn what it means to be a creative person, in Philadelphia, in 2015. And thus, with support from the Doris Duke Foundation, Bride Next came to be.IMG_1030

Well, actually, Bride Next was the next installment in a series of discussions we’re hosting in an effort to learn more about the emerging creators of Philadelphia. The first part of the series, called Each One Bring One, happened last October. On both occasions, we invited writers, actors, painters, dancers, and more to tell us about their lives, their work, and what it means to be an artist/human being in the 21st century.

Moderated by artist, activist, and our good friend, Marty Pottenger, the Bride Next discussion unfolded via listening exchanges. Listening exchanges are designed to help people hear, and be heard, with intention and compassion.

Whereas day-to-day conversations are spontaneous—given to interruptions, sudden subject changes, etc— listening exchanges create a safe, confidential space to communicate ideas. Its works like this: You and another person make a pair. When it’s your turn to listen, you don’t talk, or nod, or gesture. You simply listen. Then, when time is up, your partner offers the same undivided attention while you talk. After that, if you choose to share your thoughts with the larger group, you’re welcome to.

The concept is simple, but absolutely cathartic. It’s surprising what feelings and thoughts can surface when you’re allowed to express yourself without risk.ddtweets_10ddtweets_11

Over Federal Donuts and coffee, we asked the artists about how life in 2015 has inspired and deterred their work. We asked what they liked about their generation. And of course, we asked how Painted Bride Art Center could be a better resource to emerging artists in Philadelphia. All in all, we learned a lot, and we’re super thankful to the artists who lent us their minds, ears, and brilliant human attention.

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The next installment of this discussion series is coming soon. Follow us on twitter @paintedbride for news and updates.

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