Barnes Foundation partners with Fairmount Arts Crawl, hosts local artist

The Fairmount Arts Crawl is back and, thanks in part to the Barnes Foundation, this year’s event is even bigger. 

Friday evening, the Barnes Foundation in partnership with the Fairmount CDC, will host Artist Spotlight: Fairmount Arts Crawl. Modeled after the Foundation’s Conversations with the Collection series, the Barnes will host Meei-Ling Ng, a Fairmount Arts Crawl artist. Ng will discuss her work and how it relates to two pieces she selected from the Barnes Foundation’s collection. A docent will accompany Ng and provide further background on the two Barnes Foundation items. 

This Barnes Foundation and Fairmount CDC collaboration has been in the works since before the Barnes opened at its new location on the Parkway. 

Prior to the opening, Rebecca Johnson, Fairmount CDC executive director, arranged a meeting with the Barnes Foundation’s Kathleen Greene, public programs manager, to discuss how the Barnes could connect with the neighborhood. Greene suggested partnering during the Fairmount Arts Crawl. 

“We thought it was a great idea, and we’re really, really thankful for the collaboration,” Johnson said. “…I love art, but I’m not someone who’s kind of smart about art. I really want the Fairmount Arts Crawl to be a really high quality art event.”

The Barnes Foundation is also grateful for the partnership. 

“We’re sort of the new kids on the block even though we’re in our 100th year,” Greene said. “We need to do outreach and make sure we’re outreaching to people who have been here for a long time.”

Artist Spotlight: Meei Ling Ng

Ng is a Singapore-born installation artist and graphic designer, who now lives in South Philly. According to her artist statement, Ng uses her “art installations as a tool to learn about preserving nature, sustainable living and organic urban farming,” and she often uses found, recycled or reclaimed objects in her sculptures. 

Ng was hand selected by a Fairmount CDC organized jury and the Barnes Foundation. The Foundation then invited Ng to walk through the collection and pick two or three pieces that related to her work. These are the pieces that Ng and a Barnes Foundation docent will discuss at Friday’s event. 

During what Johnson described as a surreal experience – walking through the collection after hours with no other people around – Ng selected two pieces: The Joy of Life, an early 20th Century oil painting by French artist Henri Matisse, and Steeple Cock, a 17th Century sculpture also from France. 

The event will showcase both Ng’s work and these two Barnes Foundation items. 

“The nice thing is that the more others we bring in… to talk about the collection through a different eye, the more we open the collection to the world in a way they wouldn’t have thought,” she said.  

Festival meets high quality art show

Tonight, the Fairmount CDC and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) will partner for even more Fairmount Arts Crawl and local art institution programming. During the PMA’s new “pay what you wish” Wednesday event, the museum will host an artist meet up for the Fairmount Arts Crawl artists, though all are welcome. 

“PMA has participated in the Arts Crawl almost every year, but we wanted to come up with a way that was a little more meaningful,” Johnson said. 

Given that the Fairmount Arts Crawl artists rarely get to meet each other, the PMA and the Fairmount CDC felt a meet up event in the museum would be best. 

The rest of the Fairmount Arts Crawl programming will take place on Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sixty-four artists will fill 37 venues, ranging from studio spaces to storefronts and even old churches. Unlike past years, this year’s event will have both music and food. Eleven bands will play throughout the day, and food trucks will line up to offer grub. 

“I think the food trucks will be the biggest change and the music, but I’m hoping again that we balance a great festival with a high quality art show, a real celebration of local artists,” Johnson said. 

“My goal would be that all the artists sell something, since I hear a lot of artists talk about how Philadelphia is a great place to make art but not a great place to sell art,” she said. 

During and after the Fairmount Arts Crawl, Ng’s sculpture will be on display in the Drexel Medicine at Fairmount building. The sculpture, which includes LED lights, will be lit up at night and visible from the street. 

For a full line up of Fairmount Arts Crawl artists and venues, visit the Fairmount CDC’s event page here.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal