Barnes will open gallery doors May 19

The Barnes Foundation will officially open in Center City Philadelphia on May 19.

The building that will eventually house the world-renowned collection of modernist paintings is nearing completion on the Parkway. The move from Lower Merion has sparked a controversy over the will of founder Albert Barnes, as well as the legal and financial maneuverings used to bring the collection downtown.

Barnes president Derek Gillman evoked the wishes of Barnes as unveiled the organization’s new logo at the construction site.

“The logo captures the heart of what Albert Barnes was trying to do–displaying art for educational purposes,” said Gillman, wearing a hardhat. “It honors the name of our founder and the unique installation of the collection.”

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Opponents of the move say Barnes never wished to have his collection leave the estate grounds in Lower Merion.

Also Thursday, the Barnes Foundation announced two new corporate sponsors–PNC Bank and Comcast. It has already exceeded its $200 million fundraising goal to pay for the construction and relocation costs, and membership has increased exponentially in the last two years.

“We’re standing here looking at a concrete frame–this is where the water feature is going to be, in the front,” said Gillman, pointing to where the parking lot will be. “You can see how far advanced this is. A huge amount of the inside is now done.”

As part of the grand-opening festivities, admission to the building and its galleries will be free to the public throughout Memorial Day weekend.

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