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The Barnes Foundation Announces Arts Initiatives in West and South Philadelphia Expanding Cultural Access, Arts Education, and Programming for Local Communities

The Barnes @ LoLa 38 with the People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation in West Philadelphia
Puentes a las Artes or "Bridges to the Arts" with Puentes de Salud in South Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA, November 6, 2018—As part of its multifaceted community engagement efforts in the city of Philadelphia, the Barnes has announced two initiatives offering enrichment through the arts in local communities: The Barnes @ LoLa 38, a collaboration with the People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC) on arts programming taking place in West Philadelphia and at the Barnes; and Bridges to the Arts, a collaboration with Puentes de Salud on an art-based biliteracy program for pre-K youth and their families from South Philadelphia's Latino immigrant community.

These initiatives bring the Barnes to West and South Philadelphia, fostering relationships beyond the Parkway and offering art-based enrichment and education to Philadelphians with fewer opportunities to participate in the city's cultural offerings. The Barnes @ LoLa 38 and Bridges to the Arts are supported by grants from the William Penn Foundation.

"Our collaborations with the People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation and Puentes de Salud are a natural extension of the work of our founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who believed that access to art was critical to personal development and the enrichment of community," said Thom Collins, Executive Director and President of the Barnes. "He invested in the education of his West Philadelphia Argyrol factory employees by dedicating compensated time during their workday to introduce masterworks from his collection. In this way, he lived his commitment that: 'Art is for everyone,' a belief that cultural participation is a platform for cooperative democracy and the development of a civil society."

The Barnes @ LoLa 38:
The Barnes @ LoLa 38 in West Philadelphia is a two-year, multifaceted series of arts programs for community members of all ages taking place at "The Bank" (3750 Lancaster Avenue), the PECCDC's community hub serving the surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhoods, and onsite at the Barnes.

The Barnes @ LoLa 38 is an extension of the PECCDC's LoLa 38 creative placemaking initiative, which has served to activate transitional spaces and celebrate the living history of the neighborhoods surrounding Lower Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia. "The Bank," formed by the PECCDC as a multi-purpose program site for the West Philadelphia community, encourages civic conversation through the artistic activation of diverse social and geographic assets. The Barnes will use the space as a multidisciplinary pop-up site offering performances, family and youth art workshops, Barnes collection virtual reality "meet-ups," and more. This initiative will allow the Barnes to continue reaching beyond its walls and contribute to West Philly's grassroots momentum for arts, culture, and community development. The kick off took place at "The Bank" on Sunday, November 4 with a shuttle to the Barnes for PECO Free First Sunday Family Day.

The Barnes @ LoLa 38 initiative includes monthly shuttles to the Barnes for West Philadelphia residents to attend its PECO Free First Sunday Family Days, featuring access to the Barnes permanent collection, special exhibitions, and family programming. Additionally, free admission community passes will be provided to participants. This collaboration celebrates the vibrancy of West Philadelphia's arts community with performances and presentations, and highlights lifelong appreciation of, and participation in, the arts and cultural life of our city.

"We are excited to build a program in West Philadelphia that engages new audiences and fosters meaningful cultural connections within the community and here on the Parkway," says Barbara Wong, Barnes Director of Community Engagement. "We are excited for this opportunity to deepen our relationships with the West Philadelphia community, and discover ways to reshape our museum culture and strategies for equity, diversity, inclusion and audience development."

Details of the Barnes @ LoLa 38 in West Philadelphia are below: 

Museum to Community Activation in West Philadelphia:

  • Teen Open Studio: Monthly creative time for teens ages 14-18 including mentoring and art-making with teaching artists in visual art, music, and dance.
  • "Barnes Presents": Monthly performance series with residencies and presentations inspired by the Barnes’s various multi-cultural programs including First Friday! and Artist Bash. These performances will feature the local creative community and will spark public discourse about art, looking, listening, and engagement.
  • Family Art Workshops: Monthly afternoon workshops that welcome youth and their families to participate in hands-on art making, conversation, and community building.
  • Virtual Reality Meet-Ups: Bringing the Barnes collection directly to neighborhoods in West Philadelphia through monthly virtual reality tours of, and conversations about, the collection led by the Barnes's art engagement team.
  • Summer "Imaginariums" at Mantua/Wright Recreation Center: Three-to-six-week summer youth art workshops that spark creativity and learning.    
  • Greening our Neighborhood and Flower Market: West Philadelphia neighbors and growers will beautify green spaces with art and nature activities.

Community to Museum activation at the Barnes Foundation:

  • Meet Me at the Barnes! Shuttles to the Barnes for monthly PECO Free First Sunday Family Days featuring free access to create, discover, and connect with art for all ages.
  • Art for All Community Pass: Available to workshop and program participants, a year-long free admission pass. Each pass admits up to four guests.
  • Indego Barnes Pass: An eco-friendly bike share membership that includes one-year of free admission to the Barnes. There are Indego bike dock stations at "The Bank" in West Philadelphia and at the Barnes (20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway).

"The Barnes is a uniquely wonderful institution. PECCDC is thrilled to be able to connect neighbors in West Philadelphia to it through the offerings at the Barnes @ LoLa 38. We are grateful to the Barnes, and to the William Penn Foundation for supporting this new way to bring art to everyone," says James Wright, Director of Community, Economic and Real Estate Development at PECCDC.

Full schedule of programs online.

Bridges to the Arts ("Puentes a las Artes"):

A collaboration with Puentes de Salud, Bridges to the Arts is an arts-based biliteracy enrichment program designed to serve 200 pre-K ELL/ESL learners from South Philadelphia's rapidly growing Latino immigrant community and their families. Delivered via after-school instruction at South Philadelphia's Southwark Elementary School, and workshops and family programming at the Barnes, Bridges to the Arts fosters a rich arts and biliteracy-based environment in which young learners can thrive and grow.

Bridges to the Arts embraces biliteracy development as a formative pathway to school success, and includes a family-engagement strategy with ongoing parent/caregiver literacy workshops and visits to the Barnes to develop early literacy and language skills in English and Spanish, adopt creative learning strategies, and share resources.

Bridges to the Arts' first year took place during the 2017-2018 academic year. Early learners participated in 50 hours of arts and literacy instruction over 25 weeks through the Barnes's Look! Reflect! Connect! curriculum which was tailored for ELL/ESL instruction. 38 early learners, 42 parents, and 52 siblings engaged in year one, and year two is underway.

"Bridges to the Arts has already shown success with early language learners becoming more comfortable with new vocabulary and switching between English and Spanish to express their ideas," said Barbara Wong, Barnes Director of Community Engagement. "Students have demonstrated a curiosity to learn and make observations about art objects and it has been wonderful to see the participation of their families. With the incredible teaching resource that is the Barnes collection and our partners at Puentes de Salud, we are looking forward to another fruitful year of learning and discovery."

"Education is the key to promoting true health and wellness among the community that we serve. In collaboration with families and community partners, we work to support access to equitable learning opportunities that foster positive development, especially in the early learning years," said Steven Larson, MD, Executive Director, Puentes de Salud. "This partnership with the Barnes Foundation allows us to realize a long-awaited goal: to engage families and early learners in rich, bilingual and bicultural programming that promotes curiosity and language development."


The Barnes @ LoLa 38 is supported by the William Penn Foundation. Bridges to the Arts is supported by the William Penn Foundation and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

The Barnes Foundation is a non-profit 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 early modernist paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned masterworks by such artists as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and non-Western 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." Since moving to the heart of Philadelphia in 2012, the Barnes has expanded its commitment to teaching visual literacy in groundbreaking ways, investing in original scholarship relating to its collection and enhancing accessibility throughout every facet of its program. The Barnes Foundation is open Wednesday–Monday, and tickets can be purchased on-site, online, or by calling 215.278.7200. Ticket prices and current hours are listed on our website

People's Emergency Center (PEC) is located in West Philadelphia. PEC's mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change.  For families, children, and youth experiencing homelessness, PEC offers more than 235 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology classes. PEC seeks to change the life trajectory for the families who seek its services and inspire them to achieve housing security and financial stability.  The PEC Community Development Corporation programs respond to community needs and build on neighborhood assets to help bridge the digital divide, expand mixed-income housing opportunities, stimulate economic growth, create wealth, and improve the quality of life for all West Philadelphia residents.

Puentes de Salud
is founded on the principles of social determinants of health and social justice. We believe that community health, wellness, and empowerment result from a collaborative, multidisciplinary effort to address the conditions in which we grow, learn, live, work, and age. These conditions influence an individual's quality of life and the development of the community as a whole. Puentes de Salud aims to improve community and individual health and wellness not only by providing immediate services, but also by acknowledging and challenging embedded social inequalities and injustices. Puentes de Salud works in partnership with community members, local public schools, universities, governmental institutions, and other nonprofit organizations to address the adverse structural, economic, and social conditions that face our vibrant yet vulnerable, economically disadvantaged community.


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications, The Barnes Foundation

Trish Downey, Press Contact, People’s Emergency Center (PEC)

Alexandra Wolkoff, Education Director, Puentes de Salud