The Painting Center is a non-profit organization in New York with strong roots in the art community and a reputation for integrity in its programming. Our mission is to provide exhibition opportunities for emerging, mid-career and established artists. Curators use our space to present contemporary thesis exhibitions on visual arts, artists, and art making practices. The Painting Center has continually built upon its purpose of offering an alternative space dedicated to the exhibition of painting and various media regardless of market appeal. The Painting Center is a gathering place for artists and those who love art; it is a democratic arena that fosters dialogue, experimentation, and community among artists. It does not champion one school or tradition, but welcomes and encourages diverse viewpoints.

Over the past twenty-five years, The Painting Center has mounted over 700 exhibitions organized by guest curators and its curatorial program is central to its mission. These innovative exhibitions have displayed the work of diverse artists and have received continuous support that could only be recognized in the community as presenting an alternative voice. David Sharpe, James Little, Susan Shatter, Josef Brescher, Phong Bui, Matthew Deleget, Catherine Amidon, Ross Neher, Joanne Freeman, Stephen Maine, Karen Wilkin, Jennifer Samet, Jane Farver, Stephanie Buhmann, and Hester Simpson have all served as guest curators for The Painting Center. Reviews of some of the exhibitions have appeared in The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Brooklyn Rail, Art in America, The New Yorker, The New Art Examiner, Artcritical, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, Painter’s Table, The Partisan Review, Art News, Art Forum, Cover Magazine, Artcritical, Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, Painter’s Table, and Artspiel among others. In 1998, The Painting Center was included in Modern Painters Magazine’s: 100 Gallery Guide 1998, featuring 100 galleries in New York.

In addition to mounting a year-round schedule of exhibitions, The Painting Center hosts lectures, educational events, panel discussions, poetry readings and performances which are open to the public, free of charge. These events regularly attract large audiences, furthering our goal of engaging artists and visitors as participants. The Painting Center maintains an online curated art file on its website and a larger open artist registry at the gallery, which is available to curators. 


The Painting Center was founded in 1993 by a group of artists who felt there was an urgent need for a space devoted entirely to the exhibition of painting. After locating a space at 52 Greene Street in Soho, they transformed it into a gallery. In September of that year, they launched an inaugural show featuring forty-nine artists including Jake Berthot, Louise Fishman, Bill Jensen, and Milton Resnick. This exhibition celebrated the first season of The Painting Center and brought attention to it as a new exhibition space. The Painting Center moved to Chelsea in 2010. This location has a larger Main Gallery space measuring over 1,200 square feet and a second space known as the Project Room, which measures 400 square feet. Now in its 25th year, The Painting Center has shown thousands of artists in a variety of formats: solo and group exhibitions, exhibitions curated both by outside curators and exhibitions organized by members.