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The Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia Announce Restorative Justice Program Collaboration

February 27, 2018

Launch of the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes

Open Studio on March 4, noon–2 pm

Philadelphia, PA—The Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia announce a collaboration focused on Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice program. Supported by a grant from the Connelly Foundation, this initiative features art education classes for Restorative Justice program participants led by Barnes educators, and creative reuse of the Barnes’s former guest services center, located on 20th Street between the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Callowhill Street. Relaunched as the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes, this space will serve as an art-making site where program participants and muralists will work together on public art projects. 

Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice program engages individuals who are incarcerated, on probation, or on work release. The program provides opportunities for these individuals to reconnect with society in productive ways through community engagement, skill-building, and collaborative mural projects.

“Collaborations with impactful organizations like Mural Arts Philadelphia provide new opportunities for us to reach citizens with whom we may not otherwise have engaged. It is important to us that the Barnes is a welcoming space where communities can gather, learn, and connect—with art and with each other,” says Shelley Bernstein, Deputy Director for Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes. “Our former guest services center is perfect for an initiative like the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes. Uniquely situated at the edge of our property, it functions as a bridge to communities near us—an ideal location for art activations such as this.”

Last month, the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes was used to host art classes for the Guild—Mural Arts’ paid apprenticeship program, which gives previously incarcerated individuals and young adults on probation the chance to forge bonds with their community while developing job skills—taught by artist Santiago Galeas.

Educators from the Barnes are also teaching program participants—Guild members as well as individuals who are currently incarcerated—both on-site at the Barnes and at SCI Graterford, Pennsylvania’s largest maximum-security prison, where Mural Arts works throughout the year. The Guild has been participating in an art education class in the Barnes Collection taught by Barnes instructor Christine Stoughton. Concurrently, the Guild members are creating a body of work titled “Marks of Change” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts print studio through March 9. This project will be exhibited in the Barnes Foundation’s first-floor gallery classroom from April 6 through May 7.

Additionally, Barnes Director of Adult Education Bill Perthes is teaching a six-session art education class at SCI Graterford, which will focus on the history of mural painting from prehistoric rock art to contemporary street and mural art. Students in this class will also participate in an art making project led by an artist from Mural Arts. The work created in this class, along with that from the “Marks of Change” project, will serve as the starting point for a future mural designed by artist Phillip Adams. Adams will work with artists participating in Mural Arts’s program at SCI Graterford to paint the panels for the mural, which will reflect the shared experiences of SCI Graterford inmates and Guild members.

“Dr. Barnes was deeply committed to the democratic ideals of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. These ideals are reflected in the education program he developed for the Barnes, through which he believed students would not only learn about art, but also improve their critical thinking and well-being,” says Thom Collins, Executive Director and President of the Barnes. “With our shared goals of promoting social justice and investing in the arts as a pathway to a positive future, Mural Arts is a natural partner for us. We are excited to collaborate on this initiative as part of their transformational Restorative Justice program.”

This month, the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes is being used by muralist Ben Volta, former Guild participant and emerging artist Russell Craig, and current Guild members. Together they are working on Proclamations, a movable and modular mural inspired by the House of Cards by Charles and Ray Eames. The words, questions, and images explored in this project will highlight the personal experience of Guild members and explore the constraints of the criminal justice program. Proclamations is funded by Olivet Covenant Presbyterian Church.

“Mural Arts Philadelphia is proud to continue our connection with the prestigious Barnes Foundation,” says Mural Arts Philadelphia Executive Director Jane Golden. “We are always looking to provide opportunities to our young people so they feel the doors of major art institutions are always open to them. In addition, Mural Arts is excited about exposing the Barnes audiences and a broad range of stakeholders to the incredible work being done by our artists, as well as lessening the stigma of mass incarceration.” 



January 30–February 27, Tuesdays, 9:30 am–12:30 pm: Muralist Ben Volta, artist Russell Craig, and a Guild group working on the Proclamations mural.


  • Sunday, March 4, noon–2 pm: Coinciding with the Barnes Foundation’s PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, the public is invited to drop by and meet Mural Arts staff, muralist Ben Volta, artist Russell Craig, and Guild members working on the Proclamations mural.


This partnership is supported by a grant from the Connelly Foundation. Support for Mural Arts’s Restorative Justice program is provided by the City of Philadelphia, Connelly Foundation, Fierce Advocacy Fund, Fleischner Family Fund, Frank and Ann Reed, and Lenfest Foundation. 


Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 30 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating nearly 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to understanding with projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals.” For more information, call 215.685.0750 or visit Follow on social media: @muralarts on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.


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.

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
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Mural Arts: Cari Feiler Bender, Relief Communications, LLC
Nicole Steinberg, Director of Communications and Brand Management