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My name is Faye Anderson. I am a citizen preservationist who is currently involved in
efforts to save the Robert Purvis House in Fairmount and Abolition Hall in Plymouth
I am founder and director of All That Philly Jazz, a place-based public history project that is
documenting and mapping Philadelphia’s jazz venues and landmarks. From South Street to
Vine Street, the Painted Bride Art Center is part of Philadelphia’s jazz history. The Vine
Street location is one of the few extant buildings associated with Philadelphia’s golden age
Under the headline “The Bride is a Jewel!,” Suzanne Cloud, cofounder of Jazz Bridge, wrote
on Trip Advisor: “The Painted Bride has been a Philly institution for many years and it has a
beautiful performance space that features a diversity of talent from jazz to world music to
ethnic dance to percussion ensembles.”
Visit Philadelphia notes “most major cities have alternative performing arts spaces, but
Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center is the mother of them all.”
The Bride’s “Jazz on Vine” was Philadelphia’s longest running jazz series. Its jazz
programming was nationally recognized. In 2010 and again in 2012, the Bride received the
CMA/ASCAP National Award for Adventurous Programming. CMA/ASCAP stands for
Chamber Music America/American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
The Bride is more than a performance space wrapped in bejeweled tiles. The Bride is a
community space that was about intersectionality before the term was coined. It provided
a platform for community engagement in social justice issues.
It is sad to see the Bride downplay the cultural and social significance of the iconic building
with which it has a symbiotic relationship. The “Skin of the Bride” mosaic has been the
Bride’s public face for more than two decades. Tellingly, the façade is the background in
every staff photo.
Last week, the Bride tweeted it is “more than brick and mortar.” As you well know, every
property owner who opposes historic designation says the same thing.
The Bride holds stories of Philadelphia’s rich jazz heritage. It is a place where culture was
made and lives transformed. The building provides a context. As such, the Bride should not
disappear from public memory.
The Bride’s opposition to historic designation is fueled by fear. In a separate tweet, the
Bride said “potential designation stalls our plans for the organization, impacts the
property’s market value, and ultimately limits what resources we can later allocate to
artists.” Assuming for the sake of argument the fear is justified, it is outside the purview of
The sole issue before the Committee on Historic Designation is whether the building is
significant to the City of Philadelphia, pursuant to the Historic Preservation Ordinance. The
Painted Bride Art Center meets several criteria for designation. Accordingly, the committee
should recommend the building for listing in the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.