Skip to content Skip to footer

The Barnes Foundation Announces Virtual Programming & Holiday Shopping Opportunities During Temporary Closure

New online classes, private virtual tours, Facing Change speaker series, and more

Philadelphia, PA, December 3, 2020—The Barnes Foundation has announced a variety of virtual programs for art lovers of all ages and holiday shopping opportunities during its temporary closure per Philadelphia’s “Safer at Home” restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Currently, the Barnes plans to reopen on Saturday, January 2, 2021.

A robust slate of virtual programming allows those who live both near and far to enjoy the Barnes from Home. Offered this month and beyond are new online classes, including one on Van Gogh kicking off on December 7; Private virtual tours of the Barnes collection; Sunday Sway, a new monthly virtual program inspired by PECO Free First Sunday Family Day; Facing Change, the online speaker series featuring multicultural and intergenerational conversations about race in America, which continues on Monday, December 14, 2020, 6–7:30 pm; as well as the Barnes Takeout YouTube video series and the collection online. Additional virtual programs are listed below.

New to the Barnes Shop this year is the Virtual Barnes Personal Shopper, available every day from 10 am to 4 pm. With this new service, Barnes personal shoppers help customers find artful holiday gifts via a convenient video call. The Barnes Shop will also be open with limited capacity and health and safety protocols in place on Fridays in December (December 4, 11 & 18, 10 am5 pm) for Barnes members, and Saturdays in December (December 5, 12 & 19, 10 am–5 pm) for the general public.

“While it is disheartening not to be welcoming visitors to explore the collection and Elijah Pierce’s America exhibition this holiday season, the health and well-being of our staff, visitors, members, and community are our utmost priority, and we are committed to supporting efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” says Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation. “We warmly invite audiences everywhere to participate in our many virtual programs and explore the Barnes Shop to find unique, handcrafted gifts. We wish all good health and look forward to welcoming visitors back for in-person art experiences soon.”

The Barnes offers a variety of online art history and art appreciation classes. Several new classes are announced each month and need-based scholarships are available. Also, a new offer this year is the option to give the gift of an online class. More information is here.

The Barnes’s new custom virtual tours offer a creative experience from the comfort of home. Email us to learn about pricing, schedule your tour, and choose a theme. More information is here.

Though the galleries are temporarily closed, the Barnes Shop is open for in-person shopping on Fridays in December (December 4, 11 & 18, 10 am–5 pm) for Barnes members, and Saturdays in December (December 5, 12 & 19, 10 am–5 pm) for the general public. The Shop has limited capacity to facilitate social distancing, and all health and safety protocols are in place. Customers can also shop online at and via the Barnes Instagram Shop. Plus, new this year is the Virtual Barnes Personal Shopper, available every day from 10 am to 4 pm. With this new service, Barnes personal shoppers help customers find artful holiday gifts via a convenient video call. Thirty minute time slots with Barnes personal shoppers can be reserved via this form. Free curbside pickup is available, or items can be shipped.

Sunday Sway
Sunday, December 6, 10–10:30 am
FREE; registration required
While the building is closed this December, the Barnes is bringing the family fun right to you with virtual performances and activities. Sunday Sway, a new monthly virtual program inspired by PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, is a time for the whole family to get inspired by music and stories. Register for a link to watch live on Sunday, December 6, starting at 10 am, as two Philly artists join the fun: percussionist and poet Karen Smith and cellist and singer Daniel de Jesús (preview his music here).

Facing Change: Race as a Social Construct
Monday, December 14, 6–7:30 pm
FREE; registration required
Join us for Facing Change, our new online speaker series. Every other month, the Barnes is bringing together artists, scholars, and community activists virtually for a multicultural and intergenerational conversation about race in America. The December talk focuses on race as a social construct—the understanding that racial categories are manmade, not supported by biological science. The panel features film and media scholar Rob Buscher, writer and arts administrator Kalela Williams, and performing artist Ani Gavino, with producer Loraine Ballard Morrill as moderator. During the program, you’ll be encouraged to use the chat function to submit your own questions. Ahead of the program, we encourage you to read Buscher’s writing on race in America in Pacific Citizen.

Barnes Art Adventures
Experience the Barnes collection online with free interactive shows for pre-K–8 students—livestreamed directly to your classroom, computer, or smart device. Led by Barnes educators and featuring guest artists, Barnes Art Adventures invite students to explore, analyze, create, and learn—together or apart. Our programs use an arts-integrated teaching approach and offer choices of dates and topics to meet curricular needs. Shows can provide live instruction for students learning from home or enable students in multiple classrooms to learn at the same time. Visit the FAQ for more details.

Barnes from Home: Family Art Time
Using materials that families may already have at home, kids and their adults can create art and learn from artists and objects in the Barnes collection with at-home activity sheets from the Barnes. There are five weeks of activities designed for early learners and kids up to 12—all ready to download and try at home. These activities are meant to spark creativity and curiosity and encourage improvisation.

#BarnesRollCall: Live Talks with Artists and Performers
Thursdays, December 3 & 17, 4–4:30 pm
#BarnesRollCall, a new Instagram Live series, brings back performers and artists from popular programs like First Friday, Artist Bash, Barnes on the Block, and PECO Free First Sunday Family Day. Every other Thursday, Kathleen Greene, Barnes curator of public programs, hosts intimate sessions with artists—keeping the energy and essence of our programs alive from the safety of home! #BarnesRollCall is a chance to jam, chat, and bring the creative community together. Watch on Instagram Live on your mobile device. The #BarnesRollCall on Thursday, December 17, will feature singer & musician M’Balia Singley and percussionist Alex Shaw.

Virtual programs at the Barnes are an initiative of the Knight Center for Digital Innovation in Audience Engagement at the Barnes.

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