Jun 27, 2024


by: Jenny Donnelly Johnson

Exhibition featuring New Work by artists from the Guild program & SCI Phoenix July 5–August 26, 2024

This summer, the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia present Visions, an exhibition of original work created by artists from Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Guild program and artists at State Correctional Institution Phoenix (SCI Phoenix), southeast Pennsylvania’s maximum-security prison for men. The Guild is a paid apprenticeship program that gives justice-impacted young people the opportunity to develop marketable job skills, reconnect with their community, and explore the transformative power of art. Free with general admission to the Barnes, Visions will be on view in the first-floor classroom of the Collection Gallery from July 5 through August 26, 2024. A preview of the exhibition will be available on Monday, July 1, during Wawa Welcome America’s Free Museum Day at the Barnes.

Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Restorative Justice program engages individuals who are incarcerated or on parole, probation, home detainment, or work release, and those with open criminal cases, by providing opportunities to reconnect with society in productive ways through community engagement, skill-building, and collaborative mural projects. The Barnes and Mural Arts launched their collaborative restorative justice initiative in 2018 with art education classes led by Barnes educators and printmaking workshops held at Philadelphia studios. Workshops have taken place at the print studio at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and, for the past several years, Second State Press.

Throughout the spring, Guild members participated in art education classes in the Barnes collection taught by instructor Christine Stoughton and Bill Perthes, Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education, and art-making workshops at Second State Press led by executive director Emma Flick. Additionally, Perthes visited SCI Phoenix—where Mural Arts works throughout the year—to discuss the role art can play in conveying both what one sees and experiences daily and what one aspires to see.

Visions is the culmination of this spring’s initiative, and the artworks in the exhibition bear witness to the artists’ lived experiences, manifest their creative spirit, and evoke unrealized dreams. The exhibition gives voice to the perspectives of individuals who are otherwise largely silent in our society.

“Continuing the Barnes’s more than 100-year institutional commitment to restorative justice, our collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia’s program and the Visions exhibition highlight the creative spirit and personal determination of artists impacted by the criminal justice system,” says Perthes.

“The artwork showcased in Visions compels us to see beyond the prison walls, revealing each artist’s profound humanity and boundless creativity,” says Jane Golden, executive director of Mural Arts Philadelphia. “By bringing these powerful perspectives to light, we not only honor each artist’s personal journey but also ignite a deeper dialogue about the transformative power of art, particularly in communities affected by the criminal justice system.”

Lead support for community engagement and family programs is provided through the Comcast Center for Community Engagement at the Barnes. Generous endowment support for community engagement programs is provided by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Visions and the Barnes’s restorative justice programming is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Pam and Tony Schneider, along with Joan and William Goldstein, Margaret Harris and Phil Straus, an anonymous donor, and other generous individuals.

Visions is made possible through an ongoing partnership between the Barnes and Mural Arts Philadelphia.

Photo Credits (top to bottom):

Thomas Schilk, Mercy Needed, 2024, Paper, Styrofoam, pencil, string.

Chanel “Noodles” Mitchell, Yam: Great Grandma Gannie’s Lineage, 2024, Mixed media collage.

Isaiah Wharton, Fluidity, Flowing, Free, 2024, Monotype.

Keith Andrews, Time Away: JR and PopPop, 2024, Acrylic on canvas board.

Jordyn Travis-Grant, Black Queen, 2024, Monotype.

Robert Rigler, Free, Free, Free, 2024, Mixed media on parachute cloth.






Last updated: Jul 10, 2024

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Darcella Cross says

How do you get tickets to the opening for Thursday July 11, 6pm to 8:30pm at the Barnes?