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Barnes Foundation Launches PECO Free First Sunday Family Day

February 27, 2018

Popular Free First Sunday evolves to increase access and programming for families

Philadelphia, PA—On March 4, the Barnes Foundation will launch PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, an evolution of its popular PECO Free First Sunday. The new program will offer easier access for families—with priority entry for those with children under 18—and new programming designed specifically for families.

Since 2012, PECO’s sponsorship of Free First Sundays—and now PECO Free First Sunday Family Day—has enabled the Barnes to offer complimentary admission and public programming on the first Sunday of each month, with the goal of welcoming and engaging audiences who may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit. In 2017 alone, more than 16,000 people visited the Barnes on Free First Sundays.

“As the Barnes enters its sixth year on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, one of our key priorities is engaging local communities and welcoming new and diverse audiences,” says Thom Collins, executive director and president. “Through Free First Sunday Family Day, we are able to continue prioritizing diversity and inclusion, remove the barrier of cost, and offer impactful and enjoyable cultural experiences for all families.”

The newly reimagined PECO Free First Sunday Family Day will celebrate multigenerational families through a variety of cross-cultural programming and family activities for audiences of all ages. In addition to offering free access to the Barnes collection and exhibitions, the program will also highlight performances by young and emerging talent, hands-on experiences, and stimulating talksall designed to provide pathways for visitors to see their culture and history celebrated and reflected within the Barnes.

“We are thrilled to kick off PECO Free First Sunday Family Day. By introducing priority access for families with children under 18, we hope to make it easy for families from across the city and beyond to visit us,” says Barbara Wong, director of community engagement. “We have developed a slate of new family-focused programs, including more hands-on art-making experiences to encourage connection among intergenerational audiences, and with the collection. Plus, through our work with over 40 dynamic community partner organizations—Art Sanctuary, Taller Puertorriqueño, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, to name a few—we are able to offer such a variety of quality, entertaining programming for visitors of all ages, that every visit will be a new, creative, and unique experience.”

In reimagining and rebranding Free First Sunday Family Day, the Barnes worked with local illustrator Lauren West to design an illustration of Dr. Barnes’s beloved dog, Fidèle, which will appear on-site and on program materials.


MARCH 4, 2018

For the kickoff of PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, the Barnes is presenting a variety of fun, family-friendly activities, that support the theme “From Concept to Creation,” including a STEAM fair (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) featuring artworks created by local K-12 students using math and art; a Hula-Hoop performance by dancer-choreographer Gabrielle Revlock, followed by workshops; stroller tours of the collection; art-making stations; storytime; and a special Parkway 100 conversation with Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, titled “The Walls That Connect Us: How Murals Reflect the City’s Identity.”

Admission & Ticket Information:

Free tickets for Free First Sunday Family Day are available on-site at 10 am, include collection access, and are limited to four per person. Families with children under 18 are granted priority access to the collection at the time of arrival. Tickets go fast, but visitors don’t need a ticket to enjoy the free family activities and performances. All are invited to drop by anytime during the day (10 am–5 pm).


- ACCESS/EBT cardholders receive free admission.

- Indego bike share passholders receive free admission and a $5 discount for up to four friends.

- Children 12 and under receive free admission.

- Active-duty service members and families receive free admission from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

- Philadelphia teachers (K-12) receive free admission on Sundays.

For more information, visit our website.


PECO Free First Sunday Family Day is sponsored by PECO.


The Barnes Foundation engages visitors in an unparalleled art experience that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is presented 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 shares with the public renowned masterworks by such artists as Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, presented 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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