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The Barnes Foundation Presents Facing Change, New Online Speaker Series

Multicultural and intergenerational virtual conversations about race in America

Philadelphia, PA, November 12, 2020—The Barnes Foundation has announced Facing Change, a new online speaker series and community dialogue uniting artists, scholars, and activists virtually for multicultural and intergenerational conversations about race in America. An ongoing series taking place every other month, Facing Change is free, and registration is required.

“The arts play a vital role in shaping our civic conversation, and we at the Barnes are committed to providing a public forum—be it in-person or virtual—for the exchange of ideas,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President. “As an institution, our commitment to accessible education and to diversity, inclusion, and social justice is central to our mission. With Facing Change, we aim to create space for thoughtful, constructive, and supportive conversations to help bring about the empathy and understanding that our society needs so deeply—perhaps now more than ever before.”

Facing Change kicked off on October 12 with scholar-activist Dr. Yaba Blay, performing artist Madhusmita Bora, and workforce development advocate Sean Robinson. In a conversation moderated by iHeartMedia producer Loraine Ballard Morrill, the panelists addressed colorism, or discrimination based on skin color, which disadvantages people with darker skin while privileging those with lighter skin. A recording of the discussion is available to view on the Barnes Foundation’s YouTube page.

⁠The next conversation, Facing Change: Race as a Social Construct, is taking place on Monday, December 14, 6–7:30 pm, and features a conversation with Rob Buscher, arts administrator, educator, writer, and president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League; Kalela Williams, Director of Neighborhood Library Enrichment Programming at the Free Library of Philadelphia; and Ani Gavino, a Filipinx movement artist, choreographer, writer, and community organizer. Moderated by Loraine Ballard Morrill, this conversation will focus on race as a social construct—the understanding that racial categories are manmade, not supported by biological science. Ahead of the program, registrants are encouraged to read Rob Buscher’s writing on race in America in Pacific Citizen, and during the program, registrants are invited to participate in the conversation by submitting questions via the chat function.

“The title of this program draws inspiration from James Baldwin’s quote, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ The goal of Facing Change is to present inclusive conversations highlighting individual perspectives while offering historical context to frame the discussion,” says Kathleen Greene, Curator of Public Programs at the Barnes Foundation. “We are grateful to the diverse and dynamic group of community and creative partners who helped us shape this program and facilitate these important conversations.”

The first conversation of the new year, on Monday, February 15, 6–7:30 pm, will be Facing Change: Anti-Racism, featuring speakers Vanessa Julye, Doug Hirlinger, and Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, with Loraine Ballard Morrill as moderator. Upcoming conversations will address topics including white adjacency, cultural appropriation, and identity. Additional speakers and moderators will be announced soon.

Facing Change is created in partnership with iHeartMedia, OneHunted, Small But Mighty Arts, and the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival.

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