Our Story

In 1969, a group of Philadelphia artists built a creative home for boundary-pushing creative work. They called themselves Painted Bride Art Center. Based on a generous spirit of collaboration and creative risk-taking across cultural boundaries and disciplines, they welcomed provocative artists and historically and systematically marginalized voices of their time.

Today, Painted Bride continues to connect communities, working with artists to experiment with and explore creative relationships with audiences. We are an immersive organization that seeks new ways to make our neighborhoods, city, and world more just and vibrant. Led by artists and powered by people, we nurture collective energy in the spirit of creative expression.

The Bride is currently headquartered at 5212 Market Street in West Philadelphia.

Mission and Vision
Our Vision

We are building a future where artists, audiences, and communities in Philadelphia always have safe, supportive, and connected environments to explore the human experience and examine social justice issues.

Building on our 50-year legacy, we will nurture collective creative energy through programs that celebrate provocative expression and center the historically and systematically marginalized voices of our time.

Our Mission

We work with artists to activate supportive environments across Philadelphia where artists and audiences lead, collaborate, grow, and imagine new possibilities for community and craft. We achieve this by…

  • Exploring new leadership models that give artists more decision-making power for budget allocation, marketing, and other aspects of project envisioning and realization.
  • Unbinding the creative process from solely a ticketed performance or product to build an experience of deeper social connection and experimentation.
  • Developing new programming that engages with and responds to the needs and strengths of specific communities to help address the challenges Philadelphia and its neighborhoods face.
  • Building new and unconventional networks and partnerships beyond arts and culture organizations to facilitate cross-disciplinary collective thinking and resource sharing.
The Team
Laurel Raczka (she/her)
Executive Director
Raylá White-Spraggins (she/they)
Program Manager
Mary Zhou (they/she)
Communications Manager
Lenny Seidman (he/him)
Music Curator
Amalia Colón-Nava (she/they)
Resistance Garden Project Manager
Bailey Roper (they/them)
Blood Baby Project Manager
Allison Smith (she/her)
Art Center Associate
Board of Directors

John Barber, Chair
Director of Development, Fund for School District of Philadelphia

Jennifer Pouchot, Vice Chair and Secretary
Corporate Marketing, Vanguard

Michael Beck, Treasurer
State & Local Tax Manager, Grant Thornton LLP

Samantha Hill
Curator of Civic Engagement, Kislak Center for Special Collections at University of Pennsylvania Library

Tomeka E. Lee
Partner and Co-Founder of TriZen, LLC

Kareen Preble
Public Relations Professional

Laurel Raczka
Executive Director, Painted Bride Art Center

Brian Matthew Rhodes
General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Opportunity@Work

Harriet Rubenstein
Health Policy Researcher

E. Mitchell Swann
MDC Systems

Zoey Toy
Account Executive, Alta Management Services, Inc.
Executive Director, Beacon Networking for Life

Program Committee

Our Program Committee is a rotating group of 10-12 artists and community members across different backgrounds and disciplines. The committee meets weekly to discuss programming ideas, new strategies, and internal processes. They are a crucial aspect of the work that we do and a key part of our vision.

Amalia Colón-Nava (she/they)
Resistance Garden Project Manager

Amalia is a farmer and multi-disciplinary artist that loves to move. She joined as a founding member of Dirtbaby Farm in 2021. She works for the Painted Bride as the project manager for the Resistance Garden Project. This project works with urban farms/gardens, artists and foragers to expand agricultural knowledge and our relationship with the land. Her passion for urban agriculture stems from the deep belief that we must heal our severed connection with the land on both a personal and political level in order to save our planet from the existential threat of climate change. She is noticing cycles of change and moving through life infusing her love for nurturing the earth with her passion for dance, care, play and sensation.

Jordan Deal (they/them)
Program Committee

Jordan Deal, also known as ROSEKILLJUPITER, is a Philadelphia based multidisciplinary practitioner and alchemist. Their investigative practice uses performance, sound, film, and their BODY as a conduit between unseen forces and the materializations of socio-political structures and mythologies. They have shown work with Judson Memorial Church (New York, NY), the Center for Performance Research (BK, NY), Fringe Festival (Phila, PA) The Brick Theater (BK,NY), Cafe OTO (LDN, UK), Icebox Project Space (Phila, PA), Protocinema & Protodispatch (NY, NY), Fleisher-Ollman gallery (Phila, PA), Vox Populi (Phila, PA), amongst others. They have recently been selected as a 2023-2024 Artistic Fellow at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art and was a Fall 2022 research fellow at Amant Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, where they continued their investigations of chaos force. Deal’s films have been part of selections in Blackstar Film Festival (Phila, PA), Vox Populi, Grizzly Grizzly, Center of Performance Research, Indie Short Fest, and Paris Film Festival. They have been included in press such as ARTNews, ArtBlog, Titled House Review Spring 2021 issue and Grizzly Grizzly: In Dialogue.

Caitlin Green (she/they)
Program Committee

Caitlin Green is a Philadelphia-based dance artist with a background in dance/movement therapy (R-DMT). In her work, she tends to concentrate on the body’s role in wellness, individuality, and expressions of personal and collective narratives. As a freelance dance artist, Caitlin has choreographed and co-created works featured in Philly Fringe Festival 2019, RAW Artist showcase (Baltimore), EMERGE Earthdance multidisciplinary artist residency, the Painted Bride Art Center’s artist residency, Building Bridges, and Bodymeld’s GWYN artist residency. She is the curator and facilitator of a workshop series “Dancing to Transgress: lessons from bell hooks” that questions traditional educational settings and challenges today’s teachers, teaching artists, activists, and community leaders to re-imagine what a successful and inclusive learning environment can look like, and convener of “Our Embodied Impulses” which is a collaborative project for movement artists to be the co-creators of dances, using movement scores that explore the interconnected nature of individual and collective restoration. Caitlin is a teaching artist with Dancing Classrooms Philly (DCP), The Village of Arts and Humanities, and BuildaBridge International.

Drew Johnson (he/him)
Program Committee

Drew Johnson is a film photographer native to and based in Philadelphia, who specializes in portrait and performance photography. His experience documenting club and concert culture has developed a personal philosophy of and passion for ‘capturing fleeting freedom’. He’s established himself as an image-maker whose work cuts through the noise; providing a mirror to his viewers that allows them to access exhilarating memories of their own.

A community builder who views a world with few walls, Johnson hopes to serve the black and queer communities he belongs to, in addition to expanding audiences in other underserved populations, through joyful image-making.

Marángeli Mejia-Rabell (she/her)
Program Committee

Marángeli Mejia-Rabell’s practice is focused on community media practices, cultural organizing, intersectionality, accessibility and diversity. As Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival and Co Founder/Partner of AFROTAINO she co-curates, designs and executes arts and culture programming, collaborations and multidisciplinary projects. She has served as the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival Director for seven years supporting the groundbreaking work of Latinx filmmakers. Throughout Marángeli’s career, she has centered Latinx creators, stories and culture to bring about positive change and representation. Marángeli also serves as a Coach with the National Arts Strategies Coaching Collective working towards her International Coaching Federation certification.

LaNeshe Miller-White (she/her)
Program Committee

LaNeshe Miller-White is the former Executive Director of Theatre Philadelphia and has more than 15 years of experience on the Philly arts and culture scene. After graduating from Temple University, Miller-White worked as the marketing manager of Painted Bride Art Center for over ten years. During that time, she also co-founded Theatre in the X, a company dedicated to breaking down the barriers to the theater by providing accessible productions in Philadelphia’s Malcolm X Park for no cost. She is a two-time Leeway Foundation Art & Change grantee, and was the first Philadelphia co-chief representative for the national organization the Parent-Artist Advocacy League (PAAL), of which she is now an advisory board member. She is also an adjunct professor in Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, a board member of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the 2022 Story Changers Awardee for the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival.

Qiaira Riley (she/her)
Program Committee

Qiaira Riley is an artist and educator, raised on Chicago’s south-side and based in Philadelphia. She holds a dual B.A. in Black Studies and Studio Art from Lake Forest College, as well as an M.F.A in Socially Engaged Studio Art from Moore College of Art and Design. As a founding member of 2.0 art collective, she collaborates with artists to curate free, experimental offerings centering Black femmes, women, and genderqueer creatives.She is currently a youth organizer, supporting the work of young political activists advocating for public education reform. Her arts practice work shifts between painting, ceramics, video, and printmaking. Her work explores and is inspired by Black archival practices, foodways and vernacular interiors, collective memory, virtual diasporic identity, and reality television. She also hosts “Something You Can Feel”, a black art history podcast.

Harriet Rubenstein (she/her)
Program Committee

Harriet Rubenstein has been a Painted Bride fan since moving to Philadelphia in 1981. She has served as Board Chair and led the Bride’s New Visions Committee through the transition from its Old City location to its current residence at 52nd and Market Streets. Harriet is retired from her work as a staff person for a union representing healthcare workers. She is honing her skills as a mosaic artist.

Li Sumpter (she/her)
Program Committee

Li Sumpter, Ph.D. is a multidisciplinary artist and independent scholar who applies strategies of worldbuilding and mythic design toward building better, more resilient communities of the future. Li’s creative research and collaborative design initiatives engage the art of survival and sustainability through diverse ecologies and immersive stories of change. Li is a cultural producer and eco-arts activist working through MythMedia Studios, the Escape Artist Initiative and various arts and community-based organizations in Philly and across the country. She holds an MA in Art and Humanities Education from NYU and a MA/Ph.D. in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Li has been a visiting professor at Haverford College and Moore College of Art and Design and has taught special topics for youth and adult courses at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Barnes Foundation and Fleisher Art Memorial. She has completed various Philly-based residences for arts and technology, arts and ecology and the literary arts and will begin her term as Afrofuturist-in-Residence with the Village of Arts and Humanities Fall 2022. Li is a recipient of the 2018 Sundance Institute and Knight Alumni grant, a 3-time recipient of the Leeway Art and Change Grant, a 2020 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award, a 2022 recipient of the Velocity Fund, a 2022 Afrofuturist-in-Residence with the Village of Arts and Humanities, and a 2022 Leeway Media Artist x Activist-in-Residence with the Theatre in the X.

Zoey Toy (she/her)
Program Committee

Zoey Toy works for Alta Management Services and serves as the Executive Director of Beacon, an organization that helps executives build life-long networks to foster professional, personal, and community success. Zoey is the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Liaison for the Young Professionals Council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia and a board member of the Painted Bride Art Center. She is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Communication and Sociology.