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.
Its name derives from its original location, a former bridal shop on South Street.
The Bride began as an effort to challenge modern assumptions about art and give every artist the platform they deserved. Today, the nonprofit is an innovative, internationally-lauded arts institution that remains strongly rooted in its mission and the needs of Philadelphia’s creative communities.
45 years later, the Bride remains an artist-centered space, fully committed to the creative process, the artist’s role in the community and artistic diversity.
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