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The Barnes Foundation Announces the 2020 Barnes Art Ball

Virtual benefit event celebrating Elijah Pierce’s America and featuring chance encounters, surprise performances, and guest appearances

Friday, October 16, 6 pm

Philadelphia, PA, October 12, 2020—The Barnes Foundation has announced its annual benefit, the Barnes Art Ball, taking place as a unique virtual event this year on Friday, October 16, at 6 pm. A chance to see and be seen, the 2020 Barnes Art Ball will be an evening of dynamic artistic and musical performances, unexpected guest appearances, and a virtual exploration of the new exhibition, Elijah Pierce’s America. Funds raised from the Barnes Art Ball directly support the Barnes’s mission and its dedication to caring for the collection, presenting diverse exhibitions, and providing innovative educational and public programs for the community and its broad array of visitors.

“For this year’s Barnes Art Ball, we are thrilled to bring an exciting virtual event to life so that we can celebrate together—safely, from the comforts of home—with the incredible community of patrons and supporters who make everything we do at the Barnes possible,” says Nina Diefenbach, senior vice president, deputy director for advancement. “We are grateful to our Barnes Art Ball Trustee Chairs, Honorary Co-Chairs, Committee, and sponsors for their extraordinary support of our educational mission and diverse exhibitions, and not least to the myriad sponsors and lenders who made this important exhibition possible. The 2020 Barnes Art Ball will be one to remember—a celebration of Elijah Pierce’s America, the amazing artistic community that makes our city so special, and art’s power to uplift and inspire us.”

The unique virtual event will be an hour-long evening of fast-paced fun, featuring short performances by internationally renowned art stars and musicians, all of whom have partnered with the Barnes over the years, including Mohamed Bourouissa, Nick Cave, Yinka Shonibare, Pat Steir, Mickalene Thomas, opera countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Nick Bockrath of Cage the Elephant. Throughout the evening, guests will also experience inspiring moments of creativity from Philadelphia-based artists, including Ani Gavino, Colette Fu, Gabrielle Revlock, Hua Hua Zhang, John Jarboe, Kingsley Ibeneche, LaTreice V. Branson, and Rashid Zakat & Ikiré Jones.

Guests are invited to dress in creative attire and will be spotlighted during various parts of the celebration. All preregistered guests receive a Barnes Takeout Gift Box, filled with celebratory goodies, including fashionable glasses provided by Zenni.

This year’s Barnes Art Ball will explore love, faith, community, and storytelling—all themes inspired by Elijah Pierce’s America, which features over 100 rarely seen works by the virtuoso woodcarver, who was also a barber, preacher, and community leader. Party attendees will enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the exhibition, with insights from co-curators Nancy Ireson, the Barnes’s deputy director for collections and exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator, and Zoé Whitley, director of Chisenhale Gallery, London. Elijah Pierce’s America is on view in the Barnes’s Roberts Gallery through January 10, 2021. Further information about the exhibition is here.

When the programming ends, the Barnes’s partners at Urban One Radio One will keep the party going with an Instagram Live DJ set by DJ Jazzy Jeff and host Lady B. For more information about the 2020 Barnes Art Ball, visit the Barnes Foundation’s website, subscribe to Barnes emails, and follow @barnesfoundation on social media.

Trustee Chairs
John J. Aglialoro
John R. Alchin
Sheldon M. Bonovitz, Esq.
Pamela D. Bundy
Cathy Hughes
Brenda A. Thompson, PhD

Honorary Co-Chairs
Laura T. Buck
Anne F. Hamilton
Leigh P. Middleton
Hilarie L. Morgan
Marsha R. Perelman
Lyn M. Ross
Adele K. Schaeffer
Robbi S. Toll

Christine Angelakis
Amanda and Chip Burch
Marianne Dean
Michelle Dubay
Julia and David Fleischner
Jeanne Ruddy and Victor Keen

Lauren and Andrew Addis, Sandy Annesley, Barb Barnhart, Chris and Wade Berrettini, Mariska K. Bogle, Barbara Brown-Ruttenberg, Julie Jensen Bryan, Elaine Woo Camarda, Gareth Clark and James Harrison, Carra Cote-Ackah and Amachie Ackah, Nicole Dresnin Schaeffer, Barbara Eberlein, Lauren Eni Canseco, Avery K. Feldman, James Fernberger and Mary Walto, Christa Fiorelli, Barbara F. Freed, Tuesday Gordon Gaines, Joan Garde, Deborah E. Glass, Pia and Richard Halloran, Alexander Mason Hankin, Penny Hansen, Christine and George Henisee, Angela V.B. Hudson, Amy and John Korman, Joseph Kotarski and Federico Mingozzi, Elizabeth G. Kuensell, Vicki and Chris Le Vine, Lynn Lehocky, Marguerite Lenfest, Maribeth Lerner, Toby Lerner, Charisse R. Lillie, Esq., Liddy Lindsay, Mary MacElree, Terra Moné, Hon. Gregory P. Montanaro, Carolyn Bedrodian Nagy, Cathy M. Nassau, Megan “Meg” Maguire Nicoletti, Aleni Pappas, Janice Peck, Daria Pew, Eileen Rosenau, Adrianne Sanogo, Pamela Schreiber, Susan Selverian, Iris A. Shea, Linda Siegfried, Donna Slipakoff, Constance Smukler, Libby Sullivan Trammell, Gregory T. Walker, Noele Wein, Kim Whetzel, Janine Yass, Randi Zemsky, Eliza Montgomery Zimmerman

As of September 2020

Presenting Sponsors
Jeanette and Joe Neubauer
Aileen and Brian Roberts

Underwriting Sponsors
John Aglialoro and Joan Carter
John Alchin and Hal Marryatt
Christine and Michael Angelakis
Agnes Gund

Event Sponsors
Bloomberg Philanthropies
Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz
Laura and Bill Buck
Elaine Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr.
Comcast NBCUniversal
Dietz & Watson, Inc.
James Fernberger and Mary Walto
Julia and David Fleischner
Michael Forman and Jennifer Rice
Barb and Jack Hafner
Anne and Matt Hamilton
Penelope P. Harris
Christine and George Henisee
Lisa Kabnick and John McFadden
Leigh and John Middleton
Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan
Morgan Stanley
Northern Trust
Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman
Lyn M. Ross
Adele K. Schaeffer
Katie and Tony Schaeffer

Amanda and Chip Burch
Marianne Dean
Joan L. Garde
Marjorie and Jeffrey Honickman
Cathy Hughes
Victor Keen and Jeanne Ruddy
Maribeth and Steven Lerner
Georgiana and Eric Noll
Mary MacElree and David Hoffman
Donna and Jerry Slipakoff
Constance L. Smukler
Brenda A. and Larry D. Thompson
Kim Whetzel/Team Whetzel
Janine Yass

Special Thanks
Hard Work Party
Fred Stein
Urban One Radio One
And the numerous other individuals who purchased VIP and Patron level tickets.

As of October 1, 2020

Elijah Pierce’s Americais a landmark exhibition featuring the rich and varied sculpture of virtuoso woodcarver Elijah Pierce (1892–1984). A self-taught artist, who was also a barber, preacher, and community leader, Pierce created an expansive and unique body of work in moments between cutting hair over the course of 50 years. Through his woodcarvings, he not only succeeded in telling a personal history alongside the history of African American people, but also revealed a dynamic visual history of the United States. Elijah Pierce’s America, on view through January 10, 2021, in the Roberts Gallery, is the first major retrospective of Pierce’s work to be presented outside his home city of Columbus, Ohio, for more than 25 years.

This exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Nancy Ireson, deputy director for collections and exhibitions & Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes Foundation, and Dr. Zoé Whitley, director of Chisenhale Gallery, London.

Elijah Pierce’s America is sponsored by

Northern Trust
Comcast NBCUniversal
The National Endowment for the Arts

Additional support for the exhibition is provided by Jeanne Ruddy and Victor F. Keen, Amy A. Fox and Daniel H. Wheeler, Jack and Barb Hafner, Pamela and James Hill, John J. Medveckis, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer, Frank and Kathleen M. Seidman, and other individuals.

The publication is made possible by a generous grant from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Foundation.

Ongoing support for exhibitions comes from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and Aileen and Brian Roberts.

In addition, support for all exhibitions comes from contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund:

Joan Carter and John Aglialoro, Julia and David Fleischner, Leigh and John Middleton, Jeanette and Joe Neubauer

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, Christine and Michael Angelakis, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Lois and Julian Brodsky, N. Judith Broudy, Laura and Bill Buck, Elaine W. Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr., Gloria and John Drosdick, Eugene and Michelle Dubay, Christine and George Henisee, Lisa D. Kabnick and John H. McFadden, Marguerite Lenfest, Maribeth and Steven Lerner, Victoria McNeil Le Vine, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan, Kay and Michael Park, The Rittenhouse Hotel, Adele K. Schaeffer, Katie and Tony Schaeffer, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Stark, Joan F. Thalheimer, van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Kirsten White, Anonymous.

The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, and medieval art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.

Since moving to Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes Foundation has expanded its commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice, teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways; investing in original scholarship relating to its collection; and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its program. Hours and ticket prices are listed on our website.

Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
Online press office