Arts and Culture

A Solid Foundation (and Roof) for Community Arts

Painted Bride Art Center
A wall covered in a tile mosaic that spells out the word "BRIDE"

Painted Bride Art Center brings together artists, audiences, and communities to push the boundaries of how we create and experience art. We cultivate an environment for critical dialog and playful exchange to transform lives and communities. 

For nearly 50 years, Painted Bride Art Center has hosted cutting-edge community artists in Philadelphia. A community hub where artists share their dance, song, theater, and visual arts through performances, exhibitions, and creative workshops, the Bride is all about welcoming audiences to expand their worldviews and nourish their souls.

“I’ve come to think of the Bride as a work of art in itself, one that evolves and grows with time,” says Executive Director Laurel Raczka.

The Bride’s partnership with NFF also has evolved and grown with time. Our organizations met in 1998 over a leaky roof, and we’ve worked together on a variety of facilities and budgeting issues, deepening our partnership especially since 2012. Then, the organization was achieving small annual budget surpluses, but not fully covering its costs (such as provision for debt and repairs on its building) or saving for the future. Today, the Bride has an adaptive budget, no more deficits, and reserves that are starting to grow.

NFF’s involvement has included joining senior Bride staff, Board members, funders, and other consultants to dig deep into the Bride’s budgeting and figure out what was precluding them from building capital to invest in new programs and the facility itself. Honing in on a failure to budget for full costs that was causing a lack of cash reserves, the team created a detailed plan to fund the full costs of programs going forward, with a budget that ensures liquidity, adaptability, and durability, and the ability to foster creativity, accommodate change, and take advantage of new opportunities.

“Painted Bride was able to use financial data to make important changes on the fly, and that served them well,” says NFF Director Alice Antonelli. “They listened, they took the advice to heart, and they turned the organization around. It’s truly a story of transformation and inspiration!”

“NFF changed my life and the Painted Bride's capacity,” says Raczka. “They helped the Bride find its right size in our staffing model so that we could build cash reserves. They gave the Board a deeper understanding of our financial position, how we got there, and how we can get out. Ultimately funders have greater respect for us and we operate in a less stressful way.”

Read more about full costs here.  And click here to learn more about NFF's consulting services.

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