About the Campaign
Discover why after every visit, you’ll never stop seeing the Barnes.
With thousands of diverse works arranged without labels or categories, the Barnes invites you to think for yourself, make surprising connections, and speak art’s universal language. We've invited community partners to participate in our #SeeingtheBarnes campaign by selecting a painting from the Barnes collection that speaks to them.
Kathleen Greene, the Barnes Foundation’s curator of public programs, sees the Barnes collection as incredibly diverse—showcasing works from many cultural backgrounds. “Most people think it’s a collection of European artists. It’s not. It’s not exclusively that.”
In 2012, when the Barnes moved to its new home on the Parkway, Kathleen was tasked with bringing in the Foundation’s first-ever lineup of public programs. Since then, she’s remained committed to putting a spotlight on artists and performers that mirror the collection’s diversity and to maintaining the community partnerships that have played a crucial role in public programming.
Reflecting on the Barnes’s community partners, Kathleen notes how Erica from Small But Mighty Arts comes with “a breadth of knowledge about performing artists in the Philadelphia area,” and Rob from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival is “a walking history lesson of Asian music, film, and art.”
Erica and Rob collaborate with Kathleen on Artist Bash, an event held three times a year at the Barnes, which provides emerging and established artists a platform to shine. Kathleen says that these events, which draw up to 600 guests of a range of ages and ethnicities, “have captured people’s imagination and enthusiasm for celebrating the arts in a way that shares the playing field with everyone.”
When asked to choose paintings from the Barnes collection, Kathleen was drawn to two portraits of women: Renoir’s Before the Bath and Glackens’s Woman with Green Hat. She loved the playfulness of women appearing in fancy accessories or bathing in public—both of which she is unlikely to do!
How We Did It
See how we paired Kathleen’s image with her chosen artwork.
Kathleen sitting for her portrait.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Before the Bath (Avant le bain), c. 1875. BF9. Public Domain.
Kathleen’s portrait in progress.
The final ad pairing Kathleen with Renoir’s painting Before the Bath.
More Community Partners
Meet our partners who have participated in the campaign so far.
Rob Buscher, director of the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, credits his biracial heritage for his passion for Japanese and Asian American cinema.
As a community partner bringing Asian artists and performers to Barnes programs like Artist Bash and PECO Free First Sunday Family Day, Rob aims to carve out opportunities for underrepresented talent. “Communities of color haven't historically seen themselves in a museum space unless they are being studied by the dominant culture,” says Rob. He is also interested in bridging divides between class, race, and age, and uniting multigenerational audiences through public programs.
When asked to choose portraits from the Barnes collection that spoke to him, Rob gravitated toward Glackens’s Self-Portrait for his “swag look” as well as Van Gogh’s The Smoker and Tintoretto’s Portrait of a Gentleman for their “epic beards.” In Tintoretto’s painting, he also saw another person of mixed race.
Rob displays his chosen works: Self-Portrait by Glackens, The Smoker by Van Gogh, and Portrait of a Gentleman by Tintoretto.
Rob's portrait in progress.
Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti). Portrait of a Gentleman, Mid-16th century. BF836. Public Domain.
The final ad pairing Rob with Tintoretto's painting Portrait of a Gentleman.
Erica Hawthorne, founder of Small But Mighty Arts, a program empowering Philadelphia artists, views the Barnes as a living bridge for connecting art and community. Likewise, her group's mission, which she hopes to further through partnerships like PECO Free First Sunday Family Day and Artist Bash, is to help artists realize that their work has agency and influence.
Erica chose portraits from the Barnes collection of women “showing inner strength and holding their space.” Their quiet confidence reminded Erica of her mother’s words: “wherever you are, that’s where you should be.” Building Small But Mighty Arts from the ground up, Erica has learned to hold her own space while expanding access for the artistic community.
Erica displays her chosen works: Armenian Girl by Glackens, Portrait of a Woman by Clouet, and Head by an unidentified artist.
Erica's portrait in progress.
Unidentified artist. Head, 16th century. BF802. Public Domain.
The final ad pairing Erica with Head, a 16th-century portrait by an unidentified artist.