Let’s Connect: Artists

What’s this about?

During the Let’s Connect open call, artists throughout Philadelphia were given free access to the Barnes and asked to select a work of art in the collection to use as a departure point for creating their own work for submission. The newly produced work could respond to the selected piece in a number of ways—by addressing its historical origins, by proposing a new visual relationship in the tradition of Dr. Barnes, or by critiquing the Barnes method altogether.


The work submitted by artists will be displayed at the Barnes so that the public and a team of curators can select which four artists should be invited for a residency on-site in the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes.


Artists selected will be invited to a three-month residency in the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes, provided a $1,000-per-month expense allowance, given come-and-go access to the Barnes, and asked to connect to the public by hosting open studio hours.


For your convenience, we’ve included a shortened list of the requirements for each phase of Let’s Connect, which you’ll find below. Please be sure to read the official rules for more detail and check the FAQ page for more information.

The Let's Connect exhibition is now over and the winning artists have been announced on the homepage.

Need to Know Information

Open Call

Participation in Let’s Connect is open to any artist living or working in Philadelphia County. When you register: We’ll give you free access to the Barnes from March 19 to April 30, 2018, during our regular hours, Wednesday through Monday 11am – 5pm. You can come as many times as you’d like during this period. You’ll be added to the Let’s Connect email list for project updates. During the open call period, we’ll be hosting information sessions to give artists details about the project as well as background on the Barnes method and the collection, and to help answer any questions you may have. We encourage you to attend at least one session or watch the video recorded at our first session (below) if you can't make it at any of the scheduled times. The meetups will take place at the Barnes during the following times, but are subject to change: Friday, March 23, 2018, at 3pm Saturday, April 7, 2018, at 3pm Saturday, April 21, 2018, at 1pm There is no obligation to submit a work.


If you’d like to submit a work for the exhibition, here are some things you need to know: You must be registered. You must live or work in Philadelphia County. For reference, the following zip codes are defined as Philadelphia County. You may only be involved in the submission of one work—whether in an individual capacity or as part of a couple, collective, or collaborative. The work you submit must be an original work of art inspired by a work in the Barnes collection.
​The artist submitting the work agrees that, if nominated, they will make their best efforts to participate as an artist-in-residence. The work must be limited to the following sizes and formats:
Two-dimensional works—examples include painting, photography, illustration, drawing—must be no larger than 8 x 10 x 1 inches. The work must be mounted on a stretched canvas so it can be hung on a wall. The rear of the canvas must be clean, with no mounting hardware or hanging wire. Our collections team has also approved the use of a store bought cradled board, pictured here on the left. Three-dimensional works—examples include sculpture, metalwork, shadow boxes—can be submitted if mounted to a canvas (we suggest using a shadow box or similar) that can be hung on a wall. The work must be no larger than 8 x 10 x 8 inches.
A work must be no heavier than 7 pounds. A work must use stable materials that are pest free. During this pilot year, works that cannot be submitted on a stretched canvas—examples include performance, digital, video, sound—are not accepted. Please see the FAQ for more information.
The work must be loaned to the Barnes for display during the exhibition:
The artist or a designated agent must drop off their work within time windows outlined by the Barnes. These are currently set for the following dates, but subject to change: Friday, May 4, 2018: 1 – 6pm Saturday, May 5, 2018: 11am – 4pm All packing material must be removed from the work when dropping off. The artist understands that the submitted work will be hung using the back of the canvas and mounting hardware will be added to the piece to facilitate the hang. The hardware used to hang the piece may not be removed prior to artists picking up the work. The Barnes and Mural Arts take no responsibility for the safety and security of the work once it has been dropped off. The artist must submit accompanying paperwork, the "Artist Submission Form," and sign a loan agreement. Registered artists will recieve an email with the link to the form on May 1, 2018. The form must be completed prior to drop off and instructions for drop off will be emailed after completion of the form. On this form, you'll be asked to provide the Accession Number for the work in the Barnes collection that inspired your submission. There are multiple ways to find this number, which we'll show you in the video below. (Please make sure your volume is turned up.) The artist or a designated agent must pick up their work within time windows outlined by the Barnes or the work will be discarded. These are currently set for the following dates, but subject to change: Friday, June 8, 2018: 1 – 6pm Saturday, June 9, 2018: 11am – 4pm


Your work, along with submissions by other artists, will be displayed in the Barnes collection classroom spaces (seen below) or other areas throughout the building as assigned. Work will be hung by staff at the Barnes. Artists cannot supervise the installation. The exact space where the work is displayed as well as the position, placement, and lighting within the designated space is not predetermined and cannot be selected or adjusted by artists. A unique number will be assigned by the Barnes and displayed on an label next to the work. This number will be used by the public and curators to nominate artist submissions. In nearby areas of the room, the public will have access to digital devices or binders that contain information given to us by the artist on the loan agreement, including artist name, title of work, artist statement, and the work in the Barnes collection that the piece was inspired by.


The general public registered as project community members along with curators selected by the Barnes and Mural Arts Philadelphia will be invited to view the work and nominate artists for the residency. Registered members of the public and curators invited by the Barnes and Mural Arts Philadelphia will receive free access to the Barnes during the exhibition in order to vote. One ballot will be assigned per person.
Voters will be able to select an unlimited number of artists on the ballot. Voters will be instructed to vote for their favorite submissions. In selecting their favorites, voters will be asked to consider the following:

  • The interpretation, creativity, and/or originality of the connection made between the artist's work and the reference work in the Barnes collection.
  • The overall quality of the work including craftsmanship, demonstrated mastery of skill, and utilization of the formal elements—light, line, color, and space—in the creation of the work. ​
Votes will be tallied at the end of the exhibition. The curator nominations will be weighted the same as the community nominations, so selected artists are representative of both groups equally.
In the event of a tie between two or more artists, the submission with the higher curator score will determine the ranking. Artists who have submitted work can also participate in the nominations, but they must be registered as voters.


The announcement will be made on June 14, 2018. Only the names of the four artists selected will be announced. A list of artists’ ranking or a list of artists’ ranking per curator group or community group will not be published. The four artists selected will be announced in alphabetical order, not a ranked order.


If you are selected as one of the four artists to receive a residency, here are some things you need to know about the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes. Each artist will be given a three-month residency in the space, come-and-go access to the Barnes during normal operating hours, and a $1,000-per-month stipend for materials. Artists will be contracted by Mural Arts Philadelphia for their residency. The Barnes and Mural Arts will work with artists to schedule three-month residencies but may not be able to accommodate the specific timing needs of the artist. The artists with the highest rankings will recieve priority in the selection of residency dates. Didactic signage approved by the artist will be displayed on the front and back windows of the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes, providing information about the artist, their submission, and their practice. The information may include the website address of the artist as well as other ways to contact them. Residency requirements include: The studio can be used as a workspace but not as a residence. Artists are responsible for their housing costs. Open studio hours must be held at the studio on the first Sunday of every month, from 11am to 2pm, so members of the public can meet the artist and see what they are working on. The studio is meant to be a working studio space where members of the public can see the artist at work; the studio cannot be used as a display space or gallery. Work cannot be hung on or obscure the windows. Work cannot be for sale on-site. Artists are asked to use the studio for a minimum of ten hours per week within the hours of 9am to 9pm. Artists are responsible for keeping the space in good condition and following all rules and regulations of the Barnes facility. The Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes has the following features and limitations, which may make the space better for the working process of some artists than others. The working space in the studio is approximately 15 x 30 feet. The space is surrounded by windows on two sides with no curtains. The space has a small bathroom that includes a toilet and a utility sink. The space is heated and has air-conditioning. Windows can be opened for ventilation. The space has a bulletin board. The use of heat, steam, and smoke-producing equipment and/or hazardous materials is not allowed in the space. A small part of the space—separate from the working studio space but in the same building—is used by Barnes valet and operational staff.


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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