This summer, the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia present “Faces of Resilience,” an exhibition of original artwork created by emerging artists from Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Guild program—a paid apprenticeship for formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults on probation—and artists at the State Correctional Institution: Phoenix (SCI: Phoenix), southeast Pennsylvania’s maximum-security prison for men. Free with general admission to the Barnes, Faces of Resilience will be on view in the first-floor gallery classroom from July 8 through August 22, 2022.
Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice program engages individuals who are incarcerated; on parole, probation, home detainment, or work release; and those with open criminal cases, providing opportunities for them to reconnect with society in productive ways through community engagement, skill-building, and collaborative mural projects. In 2018, the Barnes and Mural Arts launched a collaborative initiative featuring art education classes for Restorative Justice program participants led by Barnes educators and art-making workshops at Philadelphia-based printmaking studios, including the print studio at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and, for the past two years, at Second State Press.
Throughout the spring, Guild members participated in art education classes in the Barnes collection taught by Barnes instructor Christine Stoughton and Bill Perthes, Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education. Additionally, Perthes visited SCI: Phoenix—where Mural Arts works throughout the year—discussing the theme of the portrait, which inspired the artists’ contributions to the exhibition.
“Faces of Resilience” is the culmination of this spring’s initiative and gives voice to the perspectives of individuals who are otherwise largely silent in our society. The artworks explore the theme of portraiture, both literal and metaphorical, and offer a visualization of personal experiences of loss and hope and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are grateful for collaborations with impactful, service-oriented organizations like Mural Arts Philadelphia that share our goal of promoting social justice and believe in the arts as a pathway to a positive future,” Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation, said. “Dr. Barnes was deeply committed to the democratic ideals of diversity, inclusion, and social justice, and these are reflected in the education program he launched with the establishment of this institution 100 years ago—through which he believed students would not only learn about art but also improve their critical thinking and well-being. Mural Arts’ Restorative Justice program is transformational, and we are proud to collaborate on this initiative and to present the work of these emerging artists.”
“My connection to the Guild is very personal, and my story is different from most participants,” Guild program coordinator and artist Rasheeda Bagwell said. “I joined the Guild as a volunteer because I was pursuing a degree, but quickly realized I wanted to give more time, which led to me becoming a program coordinator. For my work, I selected a picture of me looking at my nephew to capture a moment that reflected love and positivity. He was a victim of gun violence, and I want his legacy to be more profound than his tragic death. I’m grateful that people can see his face in a positive light at the Barnes exhibition. The Guild is more than a program; it’s a community where you will not be judged or cast aside, no matter your background. My goal has always been to share my story and encourage participants and employees never to give up.”
ABOUT THE BARNES FOUNDATION
The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. The Barnes collection is displayed in ensembles that integrate art and objects from across cultures and time periods, overturning traditional hierarchies and revealing universal elements of human expression. Home to one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings—including the largest groups of paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne in existence—the Barnes brings together renowned canvases by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh, alongside African, Asian, ancient, medieval, and Native American art as well as metalwork, furniture, and decorative art.
The Barnes Foundation was established by Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” A visionary collector and pioneering educator, Dr. Barnes was also a fierce advocate for the civil rights of African Americans, women, and the economically marginalized. Committed to racial equality and social justice, he established a scholarship program to support young Black artists, writers, and musicians who wanted to further their education. Dr. Barnes was deeply interested in African American culture and became actively involved in the Harlem Renaissance, during which he collaborated with philosopher Alain Locke and Charles S. Johnson, the scholar and activist, to promote awareness of the artistic value of African art.
ABOUT MURAL ARTS PHILADELPHIA
Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For over 35 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to mutual understanding through projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “Mural Capital of the World.”social justice art