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Painted Bride Art Center

A leading presenter of experimental, multicultural performing arts

The Painted Bride Art Center

The Painted Bride Art Center Credit: Jason Smith


The Experience

Most major cities have alternative performing arts spaces, but Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center is the mother of them all. Leading the nation for three decades with visionary, dynamic performances in world and jazz music, poetry, dance, and theater, it presents work you cannot see at the big “MacArt” centers springing up around the country.

The Bride, as Philadelphians call it, also mounts art exhibits and installations and acts as a magnet to the community for intimate social and cultural events. It continues as a beacon to the arts as they are being invented, as a starting point for innovative artists, and a magnet for adventurous audiences.


Six artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts started the Bride as a cooperative gallery on South Street in 1969. But it was Gerry Givnish who shepherded the gallery into a performance space. Givnish, who recently retired, moved it to its permanent Old City site in 1982. Past performers at the Bride include Carlos Santana, Elvin Jones, Penn & Teller, Spalding Gray and Sonia Sanchez.

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