Brandywine Workshop celebrates 40 years

Artist and African American art scholar David C. Driskell producing his "Bassist" lithograph in 2006 at the Brandywine Workshop. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, Brandywine Workshop operates it's Center for the Visual Arts at 730-32 South Broad Street's "Avenue of the Arts." – submitted photo

The Philadelphia City Council, with sponsorship by long-time arts supporter and Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, presented a citation on Thursday to Brandywine Workshop in tribute to its 40th anniversary, the current exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) and overall achievements in the field of the fine visual arts. Located in downtown Philadelphia at 730-32 South Broad Street's “Avenue of the Arts,” Brandywine Workshop operates its Center for the Visual Arts, which includes the Firehouse Building and houses offices the Print Studios and Archives.

“When it comes to saluting arts and culture institutions here in our city, it never ever gets old,” said Brown. “It is especially gratifying because we are saluting an institution that has what I call staying power, and further had what my mother would call ‘good sense’ when they were planning to locate their building right there on South Broad Street, thereby putting it in the heart of the avenue of the Arts. For those of us who haven’t’ had the opportunity to visit, attend or stop by the Brandywine Workshop, I would encourage you to do so, and you will be pleasantly surprised,” adding that "we want to say thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, that in many ways have wrapped their arms around and created a very meaningful partnership with the Brandywine Workshop.”

The heart of Brandywine Workshop’s activities lies in the Printmaking Studios, which serves as the actual workshop for Brandywine's artists-in residence. Nearby is the Brandywine Permanent Collection and Archives. In 2009, the workshop donated 100 prints by 89 artists to PMA in memory of it’s late director Anne d’Harnoncourt. Currently on display, the “Full Spectrum” exhibit celebrates this generous gift as well as the workshop’s accomplishments over its distinguished 40 year history.

“The title ‘Full Spectrum’ is apt in representing the true diversity that the Workshop represents and all that it has done to embrace the demographic diversity of this incredible city,” said Shelley Langdale, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings who curated the exhibition, now on display at the Museum through Nov. 25.

“Brandywine plays a really unique role in supporting both the art of printmaking, and also artist of color — not that they exclusively focus on that, but that they are devoted to a diversity of artists, and are reflecting that diversity, particularly the African-American heritage in Philadelphia, said the city’s Chief Cultural Officer Gary P. Steuer. “I think to have a place where artists can go and it be their home, is part of what has helped to define Philadelphia as being a great city for arts and arts and culture, and such a great city specifically.”

“I get so in the moment, because I want the moment to not be about Brandywine or me,” said Brandywine Workshop founder Allan Edmunds after the ceremony. “I want it to be about how we need to perform and how we need to think about how to support the arts, how the arts must be multicultural. I they don’t walk away but with one idea everybody can equality, but when there is no inclusiveness and there’s no diversity, you can’t have the greatest quality possible. And so, in the city of Philadelphia, we’re acknowledging diversity and we’re acknowledging our true equality when we talk about the arts.”

To view a video on how Brandywine Workshop artists create, visit


Contact Tribune staff writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or

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