Middle School students recently visited the Barnes Foundation, a museum in Philadelphia whose mission is to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts. Founder Albert C. Barnes believed that art had the power to improve minds and transform lives. He chartered the Barnes in 1922 to teach people from all walks of life how to look at art. Over three decades, he collected some of the world’s most important impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings, including works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. He displayed them alongside African masks, native American jewelry, Greek antiquities, and decorative metalwork.
Dr. Barnes was a strong supporter of progressive education and social justice, and he worked closely with Black communities in the belief that people—like art—should not be segregated.
While at The Barnes, the students were led in the “Barnes Method,” a way of closely looking at the art and forming personal impressions. They also did some sketching in the galleries and other activities to foster active engagement with art.
They also had a surprise visit to a nearby Starbucks, allowing them to practice life skills such as ordering and handling money.