About the Celebration
This year, we’re celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Barnes Foundation with groundbreaking special exhibitions and innovative programs.
On December 4, 1922, Dr. Albert C. Barnes received a charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to establish the Barnes Foundation, an educational institution dedicated to promoting the appreciation of fine art and horticulture. This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Barnes Foundation and the tenth anniversary of our move to the heart of Philadelphia with a constellation of exhibitions, educational initiatives, community programs, publications, and much more.
Centennial Exhibitions and Events
For 2022, we’ve planned an exciting slate of exhibitions and programs that reflect and honor the wide-reaching interests of Dr. Barnes and his foundation. See all events.
Water, Wind, Breath: Southwest Native Art in Community
Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die)
2022 Barnes–de Mazia Lecture
This year’s Barnes–de Mazia lecture, delivered by Eric Gibson, Arts in Review editor of The Wall Street Journal, commemorates our founding and 100 years of adult education at the Barnes.
Barnes on the Block
This year's summer block party coincides with the opening of Isaac Julien: Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) as well as Juneteenth and Father's Day.
The Barnes Then and Now—Reflections on the Installation
Art historians Dario Gamboni and Martha Lucy discuss Dr. Barnes’s famously quirky ensembles. What stories do they tell, and how do we experience them now, 100 years later?
Reading: Dario Gamboni on “Learning to See”
Gamboni and art historian David Young Kim read from the 2019 book The Museum as Experience, which focuses on the Barnes Foundation as a collector's museum.
The Barnes Then and Now—On Our Relationship with Lincoln University
Lincoln University president Brenda Allen and Barnes director Thom Collins explore the institutions' complicated history and promising future.
The Barnes Then and Now—Close Looking at the Education Program
Art educators Rika Burnham and William Perthes discuss the “objective method” of looking at art developed by Albert Barnes in the 1920s and what we can learn from it now.
Mural arts director Jane Golden and the Barnes's Val Gay explore the egalitarian beliefs underpinning Albert Barnes’s creation of the Foundation in 1922.
Until September 18, 2023
This exhibition, on view in the Lower Level, presents some of the letters exchanged between Dr. Barnes and Henri Matisse during the course of the years-long project to create The Dance. Plus, see sketches and photographs that provide a glimpse into trials and tribulations that led to the triumphant work of art.
Our annual fundraiser celebrates art, community, and philanthropy.
PECO Free First Sunday Family Day: 100 Years
On the first Sunday of every month, we offer free admission and family activities. This December's event marks our 100th anniversary.
A Progressive Vision
Albert C. Barnes was committed to racial equality and social justice and championed education as the cornerstone of a truly democratic society. He believed that art plays a critical role in the enrichment of communities, and that direct experiences with original artworks improve minds and transform lives. At his West Philadelphia factory, where many of his employees were African American, Dr. Barnes structured the workday to include seminars on art and philosophy.
Dr. Albert C. Barnes, c. 1946. Photo by Angelo Pinto. Photograph Collection, Barnes Foundation Archives
“Art is a source of insight into the world, for which there is and can be no substitute.”
Dr. Albert C. Barnes in Art and Education, 1929
Albert C. Barnes lecturing to a class in the Cret Gallery, Merion, 1942. Pinto Studios. Photograph Collection, Barnes Foundation Archives
Deputy Director for Research, Interpretation and Education Martha Lucy teaches to a group of on-site and virtual students simultaneously.
Ten Years on the Parkway
Since our move to Philadelphia in 2012, we have built upon Dr. Barnes’s vision with programs that enrich the lives of audiences and provide a forum for exploring ideas.
We've welcomed nearly 2.3 million visitors from all 50 states and 130 countries, with 40,000 guests admitted for free each year.
Our Parkway home, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, is certified as Platinum under the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system.
We've launched a broad range of digital initiatives, including online and hybrid classes, the Collection Online, and Barnes Focus (pictured).
Over 7,500 adult learners have enrolled in the Barnes–de Mazia Education Program, and more than 850 scholarships have been awarded.
We've presented 24 special exhibitions, which were experienced by 875,000+ visitors.
Our pre-K–12 educators have served over 100,000 students through award-winning school programs.
In 2022 and Beyond
Every day, we work to further Dr. Barnes’s educational legacy, to live up to his ideals of inclusion and access, and to break down barriers to participation in the arts, meeting people where they live, work, and play.
Every month, PECO Free First Sunday Family Day engages families from across Philadelphia with free access to our galleries, art activities, performances, and more.
We have strengthened our commitment to education and scholarship about the collection and built a reputation for presenting nationally and globally renowned exhibitions, including many international exhibitions that originated at the Barnes.
In 2021, we presented the world premiere of Suzanne Valadon: Model, Painter, Rebel, the first exhibition dedicated to Valadon at a major US arts institution. It will be on view at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen, from February 24 through July 31, 2022.
Our educators, conservators, and researchers continue to advance scholarship in a wide range of art historical fields.
The Barnes has become a gathering place for the community, uniting people across generations and cultures, and an institution dedicated to serving the people of Philadelphia. Today, we are an internationally renowned institution and a cultural force here in Philadelphia, working with partners and change agents in the communities we serve.
Musicians and performers at vibrant programs like First Friday bring creative energy that animates our collection and exhibitions.
As we enter the Barnes’s second century, we are expanding opportunities for lifelong learning and further deepening our commitment to our educational mission.
Through special exhibitions and an array of cross-disciplinary research, we explore the artists and themes found in our collection and share our findings with the world. Dr. Barnes’s pioneering education courses, taught directly in the galleries, remain essential to our activities as does his commitment to making art accessible to all. At the same time, we have expanded our programs to include more contemporary topics and approaches, with a diverse array of online and on-site courses that reach learners around the world.
Bill Perthes, Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education (far right), and Zab Johnson, neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania (standing), lead a close-looking exercise with students from the school's mindCORE initiative.
Photo by Eric Sucar. Courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania
We are deepening audience engagement with digital initiatives that complement the in-person experience. We are developing new models of programming to serve the diverse communities of our city, as well as cultural organizations across the country and around the world.
Community programs like Puentes a las Artes / Bridges to the Arts, early learner summer pods, and our innovative virtual reality tours bring art and education to Philadelphia communities.
Share Your Story
Visitors, members, alumni, students, and community partners: As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, we would love to hear about your Barnes memories and experiences over the years. Please share your story here.