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Painted Bride is selling its mosaic-covered building in Old City

It’ll use the funds to continue supporting artists

An innovative art center for edgy and experimental music, art, dance, poetry and other performing arts, the Painted Bridge was founded as a cooperative gallery on South Street in 1969 and later evolved into a performance space, moving to its permanent location in Historic Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood in 1982.
An innovative art center for alternative performances, the Painted Bride is selling its home at 230 Vine Street.
Photo by M. Kennedy for VISIT PHILADELPHIA

A mosaic-covered and beloved building in Old City is hitting the market after serving for years as an innovative art center.

The Painted Bride is selling its home at 230 Vine Street and will use the proceed as to continue on as a project-based organization, executive director Laurel Raczka announced Monday.

There’s no missing it: The Old City building is the type that makes passersby stop and stare. Its exterior is covered from top to bottom with the whimsical mosaics of local artist Isaiah Zagar of the Magic Gardens.

Since 1982, the Painted Bride has hosted thousands of performances in its 200-seat theater and art shows at 230 Vine Street. Prior to that, the Painted Bride was founded in 1969 in a small space on South Street, where it soon became part of the “Alternative Space” movement and a place for underrepresented artists to showcase their work.

Raczka said in a statement that it’s time to “venture down a new road”:

We are imagining a future that gives us the financial and creative capacity to continue our important work. We will do this by selling our primary asset – our building at 230 Vine Street – in order to secure a flexible source of capital for investment. With the proceeds of the building sale, we will ensure that the Bride can fulfill its central mission – supporting artists.

The long-time art institution’s move isn’t new to the Old City neighborhood, either. In recent years, the neighborhood has undergone a wave of new development and rise of rental prices, leaving the neighborhood’s arts community to decide whether they should stay put, move, or close up shop entirely.

The property is expected to hit the market immediately. Raczka said, “The future use of the building will be in the hands of the next owner. They may choose to operate it as a theater venue or they may have other plans.”

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