Let’s Connect: Philly’s Artists Take on the Barnes

What is this

Albert Barnes taught people to look at works of art primarily in terms of their visual relationships. In arranging his collection, he ignored historical periods and cultural origins—the standard categories of museum display—instead mixing together works of art from different time periods, cultures, and media based solely on the formal analogies they shared. Let’s Connect challenges Philadelphia’s artists, community, and curators to respond to this methodology.

Let’s Connect begins with an open call inviting Philadelphia’s artists to select a work of art in the Barnes collection to use as a departure point for creating their own work for submission. The work submitted by artists will appear in an exhibition at the Barnes, and the public and a team of curators will select four artists to be invited for a residency on-site in the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes.


Artists selected are invited to a three-month residency in the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes, provided an expense allowance, and given come-and-go access to the Barnes. They will host open studio hours to connect to the public.


Let’s Connect is a collaboration between the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia. The project takes its inspiration from ArtPrize, an open art competition held annually in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Foot in the Door, a participatory art exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art held once every ten years; Oh Snap! Your Take on Our Photographs, an artist response exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art; Walker Art Center’s 50/50: Audience and Experts Curate the Paper Collection; and the many participatory projects at the Brooklyn Museum, including Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition, Split Second: Indian Paintings, and GO: a community-curated open studio project.


The project is organized by Shelley Bernstein, Deputy Director of Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation.


Let’s Connect is a project of the Barnes Foundation in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Artist Open Call: March 19–April 30, 2018

Exhibition: May 21–June 4, 2018

Artist Announcement: June 14, 2018

Artist Residencies: July 1, 2018–September 30, 2019

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