Building Bridges: On the Rise

April 10, 2020

Painted Bride Art Center launches Building Bridges: On the Rise, a new model for artist support that redistributes resources and invests in local artists as catalysts of creativity and growth in their own neighborhoods. Pushing against gentrification and inequities in arts funding, Building Bridges: On the Rise breaks cycles of displacement and divestment that leave communities divided and disconnected. Recognizing the power of art and artists to create pathways to understanding and inclusion, the Bride aims to invest in the vision and practice of local artists to shape the future of Philadelphia communities to which they belong.

Phase 1 of the Building Bridges initiative began in February 2020 and will conclude in June 2020. During Phase 1, we have invited a small cohort of artists from various disciplines to research and develop, workshop and rehearse, design and produce prototypes and pilot projects for new work informed and inspired by place, collaboration and a culture of equity. The projects have adjusted from their original forms in the wake of changes due to Covid-19. Stay tuned for more blog posts from the artists themselves as they progress through their projects.


Ursula Rucker

Ursula is a Philadelphia born…mother of four sons…world renowned/award winning poet, activist, educator and recording artist. She has been performing, recording and releasing works for almost 30 years. She is dedicated to art as/for social change…and committed to freedom fighting, fire-starting, truth-telling and peace-making through her chosen art form.

Anti-Violence Viral Peace Anthem

Ursula’s vision is to…even and especially in the midst of this new challenge…work with at least four teens to create a super powerful songpoem anthem that speaks and shares boldly and loudly a multigenerational PHILLY CENTRIC voice FOR PEACE and AGAINST VIOLENCE. She will be collaborating with a fellow artist to build the music/soundscape and arrangement of the song, as well as perform on the song. Ursula’s hope is to spread this anthem and make it go VIRAL (pun intended). As conditions allow, she’d like to cautiously drive around playing the anthem out of an amplifier…ole school hood preacher style.

photo: Sven Frenzel Photography

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James Allister Sprang

James creates work that exists in gallery spaces, theater spaces and the space generally found between the ears. Informed by the black radical tradition, Sprang’s work is best described as a storytelling that investigates poetics, performance, gesture and their documentation.

The Aquifer of Rhythm

For his project he will be interviewing drummers across the city of Philadelphia. Sprang searches for the histories embedded in the rhythms in the city of Brotherly love. Part-soundscape-part-oral history The Aquifer of Rhythm is a work meant to unearth some of Philadelphia’s diasporic oral and aural histories in service of it’s black and brown citizens.



Annielille Gavino

Annielille is a Filipinx movement artist, choreographer, and teaching artist. As an interdisciplinary dance maker, she uses dance as a storytelling element for cultural connection, resistance, spiritual journeys, and community engagement.

Hood Art

Ani’s project will produce “hood art.” Originally hoping to bring theater to the public instead of the public to the theater, in the wake of Covid-19 she has shifted her project to a filmed dance project in public or safe spaces in South Philly (e.g. the abandoned lot across the street from her home, her own backyard or bedroom). The theme of the works will surround thoughts of an immigrant during a lockdown. What does it feel like to be miles away from the homeland, living in your new migrated land, in a crisis such as this. What thoughts arise? What fears?

Website: | Instagram: @ani_malayaworks @babaylan

Caitlin Green

Caitlin is a dance artist based in Philadelphia, originally from Huntingdon, PA. In her work, Caitlin aims to activate conversation, self evaluation, and vitality, both personally and collectively. In her obsession with dance and movement, she tends to concentrate on the body’s role in wellness, individuality, and expressions of personal and collective narratives.

Hey Homebody

‘Hey, Homebody’ is an explorative movement workshop that offers an embodied practice for coping with stressful (home) environments and feeling at home in one’s body. The “stay at home” order, courtesy of COVID-19, has many of us going stir crazy for various reasons, and encourages us to reflect on the spaces we call “home”. What’s the remedy when being stuck at home is less than pleasant, toxic even? What about those of us who don’t have homes to turn to? Dance Artist and Movement Therapist, Caitlin Green shares her movement practice for grounding self, and rediscovering the body as home in times of distress or discomfort, using dance to access and identify emotional needs.

Website | Instagram

Anthony Carlos Molden

Anthony is a mixed media painter/sculptor born in Cedar Rapids, IA, and raised in Altadena, CA. Anthony’s current painting style is a mix of sculptural relief with a repurposing of found objects and recycled materials described as “Afrofuturism and beyond “. All of his paintings are made with 90-100% recycled materials, including paint.

Anthony will create public pieces of art using reclaimed objects to create four sculptures hung from trees that emit light at night. The aim is to surprise people with creative things they can enjoy safely from their windows during confinement. Two sculptures will be created by Anthony, and two by Amir Lyles. They will be placed in their respective neighborhoods( Chestnut Hill, Germantown).

Li Sumpter (Project Manager)

Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a scholar, multidisciplinary artist and cultural producer based in Philly with over 15 years experience in the fields of museum education, program development, and community engagement. She has worked on art and social justice projects addressing representations of race, class, identity, environmental injustice and ecological crisis with local and national organizations including the New Museum of Contemporary Art, International Center of Photography, AFROPUNK, Rock the Vote, The Truth Telling Project, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, African-American Museum of Philadelphia, The Colored Girls Museum, Mural Arts, the Germantown Historical Society, Sundance Film Institute, BlackStar Film Festival, Scribe Video Center, The Leeway Foundation and Common Field.

Building Bridges is supported by Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Pop-Up Grants for Cultural Producers.