South Philadelphia: Brandywine Workshop Helps Artists Network

Allan Edmunds showed the work that the workshop houses.
Allan Edmunds showed the work that the workshop houses.
Allan Edmunds, president of the Brandywine Workshop, showed examples of prints the workshop houses.

Brandywine Workshop has been a printmaking and arts education center since 1972. Located at 728 S. Broad St., it has attracted artists from 15 different countries which includes Russia, Europe, Whales and Caribbean countries.

Although it started mostly with artists, teachers from the University of the Arts and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts have all been a part of Brandywine’s growing process. The ages of artists who have created prints at the workshop range from 23 to 92 years old.

“Our concern was to give back,” said the workshop’s president Allan Edmunds. “We wanted to create an opportunity where people could go once school is out. Once they finish school, during the summer they have a place to go for an internship. And once they graduated, they had a bridge to college.”

Edmunds said the workshop is for printmaking, but it is a collaborative space which helps artists network. Social networks like Brandywine are important to the art community because it helps artists create new contacts and build a network, he added.

“It’s about being able to get out of your peer group,” Edmunds said. “You have a situation where it’s the network that you build. There are great artists but when you look at the quality of art, how does this artist get the opportunity versus the other artist? It’s getting yourself exposed, people come here to meet new people.”

“Brandywine does an outreach [program] because art education is important [and] to give kids an opportunity for exposure,” said Edmunds. “But also, it gives artists an opportunity to give back to the community by teaching and working in settings that they normally would not of worked in.”

Brandywine Workshop is funded by its private donors as well as city, state and federal grant money. However over the years, a majority of funding has become focused more on bigger non-profit organizations, leaving smaller institutions like Brandywine to split their money.

To help stay funded, Brandywine bought the land and built its current building in the early 1990s. The organization also owns the adjacent fire house and the lot out front of the building which is planned to be used for residential retail.

“We had a plan 20 years ago when we bought all this property, that the funding from the state and from foundations was going to gradually decline,” Edmunds said. “But we produce something. We always have something to sell which is the artwork.”

For more information about the workshop and events, visit its website or Facebook page.

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