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The Barnes Foundation Announces Public Programs and Events Celebrating Five Years on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

September 14, 2017

Philadelphia, PA—The Barnes Foundation kicks off its fifth anniversary in the heart of Philadelphia this October with a constellation of public programs and events that reflect the Barnes’s commitment to community engagement. Since moving to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in May 2012, the Barnes has welcomed more than 1.4 million visitors, sharing with the public an unparalleled art experience that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. Building upon the progressive vision of its founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, the Barnes has developed an expanding roster of programs and cultural partnerships designed to enrich the lives of audiences and provide a forum for exploring ideas of enduring relevance.

“Over the last five years, the Barnes has deepened its commitment to accessible arts education and to diversity, inclusion, and social justice,” said Thom Collins, executive director and president. “This October, we look forward to celebrating these milestones with our partners and members of the community who have provided us with a constant source of inspiration to advance the Barnes’s public service to the city of Philadelphia and beyond.”

Special anniversary programs include a Pre-K–12 educators’ night, a lecture by Barnes Foundation architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a college night, musical performances, and Fête the Fifth—an evening of cabaret at the Barnes. The full list of programs is detailed below and can be found on our website.

Sunday, October 1
Free First Sunday: Celebrate!
10 am–5 pm (FREE)

Visitors are invited to join a daylong celebration of our community partners across Philadelphia, featuring music and dance performances by the Cambodian Association, Olive Dance Theatre, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, The Renegade Company, and Sister Cities Girlchoir. Free First Sundays are generously presented by PECO. Tickets are limited and cannot be reserved in advance; they are available on-site starting at 9 am.

Monday, October 2
Parkway Centennial Lecture: Architecture—Honoring a Legacy
6:30–8 pm ($25; members $20; students $18 with valid ID, walk-up only) (cocktail hour begins at 5:30pm)

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, awarded the National Medal of the Arts, and architects of the Barnes Foundation’s Philadelphia campus and the Barack Obama Presidential Center, will join Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Inga Saffron for an evening of conversation. The discussion will consider the role of architecture in honoring and preserving the legacy of an individual who has had a transformative impact on the world.

Tuesday, October 3
Students and Alumni of the Barnes Foundation: Lecture and Brunch
9:30 am–noon ($100 - for alumni and current students of the Barnes only)

Cindy Kang, associate curator of the Barnes, will offer a curatorial overview of forthcoming exhibition Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema, and award-winning landscape designer W. Gary Smith will deliver a keynote lecture discussing the journey of artistic inspiration. The presentations will be followed by brunch.

Barnes Classes Open House
4-7 pm (FREE)
Explore the Barnes’s unrivaled collection and sample mini-classes in art and horticulture taught by our faculty.

Wednesday, October 4
Open Rehearsal with the Barnes Ensemble
10 am–noon (FREE)

Visitors can sit in on a rehearsal of the Barnes Ensemble, a cutting-edge contemporary music collective debuting at the Barnes on October 8. In this educational, behind-the-scenes program, visitors will see how a conductor works with a large group of musicians and have the chance to ask questions. The Barnes Ensemble performances are generously supported through the PNC Arts Alive initiative.

College and University Faculty Night
5–8 pm (FREE)
College and university faculty from all disciplines are invited to enjoy free, private access to the collection. Refreshments will be available for purchase in the Annenberg Court.

Thursday, October 5
Central High School Alumni Morning
10 am–12 pm (FREE)

In celebration of Albert Barnes’s alma mater, Central High School alumni are invited for a morning of collection tours and music. Central High students will lead short tours through the galleries; a musical performance will follow in the Annenberg Court.

Pre-K–12 Educator Night
5-7 pm (FREE)

Celebrating the Barnes’s impactful work with the Philadelphia School District, teachers from partner schools and museum educators are invited to a lecture by Dr. Eleanor Brown, professor of psychology at West Chester University, who will discuss her important new research on the links between art-making and physiology. Philadelphia school district superintendent Dr. William Hite will make opening remarks. Attendees are encouraged to explore the collection galleries before the lecture. (5–6 pm gallery access;  6–7 pm lecture.)

Friday, October 6
Member Appreciation Day
10 am–5 pm (FREE for members)

Members are invited to take part in Meet Your Masterpiece tours, go behind the scenes in the archives, and enjoy the collection their generosity supports. To show appreciation for all that members do, the Barnes will offer 20% discounts in the shop, Garden Restaurant, and coffee bar.

First Friday! Elio and Pablo
6–9 pm ($28; college students $10, walk-up only; members FREE)

This performance, featuring Elio Villafranca and Pablo Batista, fuses traditional and contemporary Cuban music. Villafranca is a remarkable pianist, composer, and bandleader who has made major contributions to the international development of modern jazz. Master percussionist Pablo Batista has recorded and toured internationally for nearly 30 years with some of the biggest stars in rhythm and blues, jazz, Latin, pop, and gospel. Get ready for a festive evening of music, art, and cocktails! First Fridays are sponsored by Blue Moon.

Saturday, October 7
Plein Air Day at the Barnes
10 am–3 pm (FREE)

Plein air painters are invited to sketch and paint at the Barnes, drawing inspiration from both the Philadelphia and Merion campuses. The Parkway building and grounds will be open for painters during the morning hours; the Merion Arboretum will be open the entire time.

Sunday, October 8
Barnes Ensemble Premiere Concert: “Ramifications”
7 pm ($30; members $20; students $10)

Don’t miss the premiere performance of the Barnes Ensemble, an innovative contemporary music collective with the celebrated JACK Quartet as its core. Inspired by Dr. Barnes’s unconventional approach to arranging his art collection, this opening concert program features a carefully curated array of 20th- and 21st-century music, mixing cultures, instrumentations, and ensemble sizes to explore connection in sound. The Barnes Ensemble performances are generously supported through the PNC Arts Alive initiative.

Thursday, October 12
5th Anniversary Gala
6:30–11 pm

Celebrate the Barnes’s legacy and toast to the future. Guests are invited to join us for a festive gala to pay tribute to our founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes, and the visionaries who paved the way for our expansion to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and share excitement over plans for the Barnes’s second century.

Friday, October 13 
5th Anniversary Celebration - Fête the Fifth
7-10 pm ($1,000; $500; $250)

An evening of cabaret at the Barnes in celebration of our founder and our fifth year on the Parkway.

Thursday, October 19
College Night: Party at the Barnes!
6–9 pm (FREE; register here)

The Barnes’s third annual college night in partnership with Campus Philly! Celebrate the Barnes’s fifth year on the Parkway with a party featuring live music and performances. Collection access included. In partnership with Campus Philly.

Friday, October 20
Young Professionals Night 
7–10 pm ($35; members $15; Contemporaries FREE)

Join young professionals and Contemporaries members of the Barnes for a night of fun, fashion, art, and music. (Contemporaries VIP reception: 6:30–7:30 pm.) Young Professionals Night is sponsored by Blue Moon, Boyds Philadelphia, and Mole Street.

Monday, October 23
Film Series: The Philadelphia Story
7:30–9:30 pm ($14; members and students $7)

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn star in George Cukor’s classic comedy about a Philadelphia socialite and her romantic misadventures. Set during the early 1940s, a time when Albert Barnes was busy ruffling feathers out on the Main Line, The Philadelphia Story gives us a glimpse into the exclusive social circles that he was up against. Dr. Martha Lucy, Barnes deputy director for education & public programs and curator, introduces the film.

To register for free events or purchase tickets online, visit or call 215.278.7200.

The Barnes Foundation’s fifth anniversary in Philadelphia coincides with the centennial of the city’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This major milestone will be celebrated by the Parkway Council Foundation—a coalition of cultural and educational institutions, among others—through a series of exhibitions, events, and community conversations from September 8, 2017, through November 16, 2018.


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 modern 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.

Inaugurated in conjunction with the 2012 opening of the Philadelphia campus, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, the Barnes Foundation’s exhibitions program has featured 11 thought-provoking presentations that reveal new perspectives for experiencing the permanent collection. Select past exhibitions include Person of the Crowd: The Contemporary Art of Flânerie (2017), a city-wide exhibition featuring works by more than 50 artists in the Roberts Gallery, in street interventions throughout Philadelphia, and on the web; Nari Ward: Sun Splashed (2016), a midcareer survey of the artist’s found-object assemblage art; Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change (2016), which examined the artist’s stylistic development during the First World War; and Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things (2015), for which the Barnes commissioned three large-scale artist installations in response to the unconventional way Dr. Barnes displayed his collection.

On view now through October 2, 2017, is the exhibition Mohamed Bourouissa: Urban Riders. Upcoming initiatives include the publication of a catalogue raisonné of the works by Paul Cézanne in the Barnes collection and the exhibitions Kiefer Rodin (November 17, 2017–March 12, 2018), Renoir: Father and Son / Painting and Cinema (May 5– September 3, 2018), and Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist (October 20, 2018–January 14, 2019). 

As the Barnes celebrates five years on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 2017, the Foundation continues to increase its public programming and initiatives in service to the Philadelphia community, the region, and visitors from across the country and the globe.

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.


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
Online press office:

Chelsea Beroza, Resnicow and Associates

Adriana Elgarresta, Resnicow and Associates