Old Barnes building goes green

    Once the Barnes Foundation moves its famous art collection to a new downtown site, nature will take over the original building in Lower Merion.

    Once the Barnes Foundation moves its famous art collection to a new downtown site, nature will take over the original building in Lower Merion. The building is surrounded by 13 acres of gardens, and some rooms of the gallery will be used for horticulture programs. Now, the Barnes board is trying to figure out what to do when the art goes away.

    The original intention of the Barnes site was to be a three-pronged aesthetic experience integrating art, architecture, and an arboretum. The group still fighting to keep the art in Lower Merion insists that they add up to more than the sum of the parts.

    But the Board is going through with the art move and yesterday passed a resolution that will give the arboretum more prominence at the site.

    Aboretum director Jacob Thomas says he will be expanding both his 3-year study program and informal drop-in classes.

    Thomas: One of the uniqeness of the arboretum is the diversity of species. You see many rare and unsual plants and trees that are no available in other area gardens. We will making more additions to that.

    The Barnes Board also approved a resolution to establish a community advisory board that will give feedback on the arboretum.

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