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The Barnes Foundation & Mural Arts Philadelphia Present “Through My I: Art from SCI: Phoenix”

Exhibition featuring new work by artists at State Correctional Institute Phoenix on view in Barnes’s first-floor gallery classroom

July 14–August 21, 2023

Philadelphia, PA, July 13, 2023—This summer, the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia present Through My I: Art from SCI: Phoenix, an exhibition of original artwork created by artists at State Correctional Institute Phoenix, southeast Pennsylvania’s maximum-security prison for men. Free with general admission to the Barnes, Through My I will be on view in the first-floor gallery classroom from July 14 through August 21, 2023.

Through My I is made possible through ongoing cooperation between the Barnes and Mural Arts Philadelphia. The paintings on view in this exhibition portray the visual reality of incarceration and imagine a world beyond prison fences and concertina wire. These works are also a statement to the outside world, where the voices and visions of incarcerated individuals are rarely heard or seen.

Throughout the spring, Bill Perthes, Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education at the Barnes, visited SCI: Phoenix—where Mural Arts Philadelphia works throughout the year—discussing the theme of incarceration and the world beyond, which inspired the artists’ contributions to the exhibition. Through My I is the culmination of this spring’s initiative, offering a visualization of personal experiences of incarceration and exploring the artists’ vision of the world outside the prison walls.

Through My I celebrates the talent of these remarkable artists, providing a platform for their unique voices to be heard,” says Perthes. “It also continues the Barnes’s more than 100-year institutional commitment to restorative justice.”

"The artwork presented in Through My I challenges us to look beyond the confines of prison walls and recognize the humanity and creativity within every individual," said Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. "In showcasing these artists' perspectives, we not only share a glimpse into their personal journeys, but also foster a deeper conversation about the transformative power of art in communities, especially those impacted by the criminal justice system."

Lead support for community engagement and family programs is provided through the Comcast Center for Community Engagement at the Barnes. Generous endowment support for community engagement programs is provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), and additional annual support for these programs comes from generous individual, corporate, and foundation donors.


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, medieval, and Native American 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 programs.

The Barnes Foundation is situated in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape people. Read our Land Acknowledgment.

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Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 35 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to mutual understanding through 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 arts preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, earning Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “Mural Capital of the World.” For more information, call 215.685.0750 or visit Follow on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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Mural Arts Philadelphia: Tamara Yvette Day, Signature 57