Envision the Barnes Foundation’s new Philadelphia facility filled with kids from all backgrounds enjoying the splendors of some of the most important artworks of the 20th century. That’s what museum officials are doing as they gear up for it’s opening on May 19.
“We go from being somewhat sequestered and somewhat invisible to being in the most public part of Philadelphia. This is where we welcome America. Our ability to invite people in and see who we are and what we do dramatically changes,” said Blake Bradford, the foundation’s director of education, who envisions the museum filled with people — a significant portion of them students.
“We hope to make this wonderful collection of art available to many more people in the rubric of Dr. Barnes’ interest who felt that art should be available to everybody and that it enriched human lives,” said Bernard C. Watson, chairman of the museum’s board of Trustees.
The world renown collection, assembled by Dr. Albert C. Barnes from the early 1900s until his death in 1951, includes impressionist and post-impressionist works by European and American masters, early modern art, African sculpture, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American textiles, metalwork.
With an estimated worth of $25 billion, it is among the greatest art collections in the world. Until recently the collection was housed in a beaux arts style complex of buildings in a residential neighborhood in Merion. That, along with the complicated rules established by Barnes at his death, limited the number of visitors to the site.
In its new building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway the number of visitors can increase dramatically.
The new building, designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien replicates the scale, proportion and configuration of the foundation's original galleries in Merion, in keeping with specifications laid out by Barnes before his death. But it also, includes a number of enhancements that museum officials hope will improve the experience for visitors. They include: a 5,000-square-foot space devoted to special exhibitions, classrooms, a 150-seat auditorium, and facilities for painting conservation and research.
Foundation officials hope the facility will draw children, students and art lovers from all over the world and bring them together in a space that enhances their experience in way that would not have been possible in Merion.
Pointing to the fact that the number of Barnes Foundation members has risen from 400 to more than 10,000 in the last several years, officials are confident they made the right decision.
Space is not the only advantage to the new facility.
Technology has been integrated into the teaching spaces to give participants a broader cultural experience.
“We can spend time in the galleries looking at our collection,” Bradford said. “Then immediately access databases of works that might be related. So for example, looking at a Cezanne – the Cezannes we have in our collection and then looking at related works in other collections – without leaving the gallery.”
Hopes are that students – Philadelphia public school students specifically – will feel at home in the new museum.
“We want to make sure that the experience is opening and mind expanding,” said Jacqueline F. Allen, a member of the foundation’s board of trustees. “And, not just shuttle kids through. We are about the experience and making art appreciation and education the experience that Dr. Barnes wanted, open to a wider number of people.”
Officials hope to expand the total number of students, K-12, who visit the museum to about 7,500 students. An estimated 5,000 of them will come from Philadelphia public schools.
For Philadelphia students the visit will be free.
“Our intention is to fully subsidize participation for Philadelphia public school students,” Bradford said.
Education has always been at the heart of the collection.
Barnes’ will placed the foundation under the control of Lincoln University and the school, though its influence has been diminished, will continue to be an active participant at the new site.
Again, students will be at the core of that participation.
“We are very excited about possibilities and the relationship,” said Robert Jennings, president of Lincoln University. “We want our students to get hands on experience and what we hope to have happen is … that they will have something they can add to resume very quickly. When we look at museums nationwide there is an absence of people of color.”
Jennings said the relationship will also help the university rebrand itself as it looks to its future.
“I think it’s going to be a win/win,” he said. “More importantly, I think it’s going to help us maintain the spirit of what Dr. Barnes was all about.”
Plans to move the collection from Merion, where Barnes established it, into Philadelphia have been highly controversial. The foundation is still involved in litigation over the move but Watson said he was confident Barnes would approve.
“What we’re trying to do is focus on what Dr. Barnes intended and to move the art in keeping with philosophy and views on art,” said Watson.
COATESVILLE, Pa. — Lincoln University says it's opening a second campus in Chester County.
The historically Black institution will begin offering classes in Coatesville next year. The city is about 15 miles northeast of Lincoln's main campus in Oxford.
University President Robert Jennings announced the move on Wednesday at an economic forum in Coatesville.
Jennings says the Coatesville campus initially will house programs in nursing, business and entrepreneurship, and hotel, restaurant and tourism management.
Classes will be taught in a building currently used by the Coatesville school district for alternative education. The first classes are expected to be offered in January.
Acting City Manager Kirby Hudson says the campus could help revitalize downtown Coatesville.
Lincoln is a state-related university serving about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students. -- (AP)
A new course has been chartered for Lincoln University.
Robert R. Jennings, who was recently inaugurated as Lincoln’s 13th president, has set an ambitious vision for the institution’s future.
“I’m at a point where I’m trying to make sure that all of the programs that we offer are of the highest quality possible, that they are setting the tone for where institutions of higher learning ought to go today,” says Jennings, who comes to Lincoln after having served in key leadership roles at Alabama A&M, Wake Forest University and North Carolina AT&T.
“I’m trying to make sure that all of our programs have a global perspective, because we live in a global society. In other words, when you get a degree from Lincoln University, you ought to be able to operate not only in this country but you should be able to use those same skills sets in any other country.”
With that in mind, Jennings says the university — which offers five foreign languages — is emphasizing the importance of being bilingual to its students.
Under Jennings’ direction, Lincoln is focusing on offering programs that meet the demands of the marketplace.
Next January, Lincoln will roll out a new master’s degree in chemistry with an emphasis on environmental studies and green initiatives.
The university has resurrected its bachelor’s in nursing program to help meet the nationwide demand for nurses. Plans are in the works to open a facility in Coatesville, which will be used for Lincoln’s nursing program and should be up and running by January.
With the assistance of the University of Delaware, Lincoln will be launching a new hotel, restaurant and hospitality management program University officials are exploring the possibility of constructing a hotel conference center near the main campus, which would be a training ground for students.
One of Jennings most pressing concerns is raising critical scholarship dollars to be able to recruit and retain talented students at Lincoln. His administration plans to conduct a feasibility study for a capital campaign with a projected goal of $40 to $50 million raised over a four-year period with a major emphasis on building the university’s endowment. The university seeks to increase alumni giving to 11 percent annually.
The push to obtain more scholarship funding comes at a time when 97 percent of Lincoln students receive financial aid, and 64 percent of its students are the first in their family to ever go to college.
“We still continue to attract a cadre of young people at the undergraduate level in particular who are the first and understand that in order to maneuver this global society that they are going to have to have a degree because the research is clear. Those with a degree make one and half times more than those who do not have one,” Jennings pointed out.
To increase student enrollment, Jennings has signed articulation agreements with nine community colleges. In the next five years, he projects the construction of at least one suite-style dormitory and an additional 1,000 students through the use of online learning and distance learning technology and partnerships.
In keeping with Lincoln’s focus on maintaining a global presence, Jennings says the university seeks to have 10 to 15 percent of its student body study abroad and will be starting faculty exchange programs with South Africa, India and Asia. He will be traveling to South Africa later this month to sign agreements for students to have study-abroad experiences.
“If we talking about producing a global minded student which is part of our mission, then we certainly have got be in position to do global minded things,” Jennings said.
In an effort to make the university more accessible to the public, a new series titled “Culture at Lincoln” will be launched on campus that enables community residents to view free plays and musical performances at the university.
Jennings says that making the university more accessible to the Chester County community will better position Lincoln to recruit students from the area and approach the surrounding area for scholarship support.
Jennings shared his goals for the university before a crowd of administrators, faculty, students, alumni, politicians and officials from area colleges and universities during a formal inauguration ceremony on September 22.
“This is a president of vast talent and admirable life experience,” Gov. Tom Corbett said during the ceremony.
“He could have worked anywhere, but he chose Lincoln University — a place that has taught all of us to believe in excellence.”
Jennings comes to Lincoln from Gems, Inc., in Union City, Ga., where he served as an administrator. Gems is a licensed learning academy operating in two states which serves children 6 weeks to 12 years and personal care homes serving adults including seniors with special needs. Under this position Jennings managed day to day operations of both agencies including staff development training, marketing, and quality control.
He brings an extensive background in higher education and the government arena to his role at Lincoln’s helm. He served as president/CEO of Alabama A&M in Normal, Ala., from 2005 to 2008. While at AAMU he raised $4 million for a scholarship endowment program which was the first time this had every occurred in the history of AAMU. He secured the largest legislative increase in the 132-year school history by 12 percent.
Prior to becoming the president of AAMU, Jennings was the executive vice president/chief operating officer for Future Focus 2020, Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and vice chancellor for Development and University Relations at North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C.
In his government related experience, he served as the U.S. State Department’s chief consultant for the U.S. Information Agency to the University of Niamey in Niger, Africa. He has served in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of the Administrator in Washington, D.C., and as a loaned executive to the Reagan administration.
Jennings holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehouse College, a master’s in education psychology/elementary education and a doctorate in higher education administration and policy studies from Atlanta University. He also received an education specialist degree in interrelated/special education from Atlanta University.