Barnes Foundation + Youth Study Center = ArtJail logo
  The fine art of punishment™ • The Barnes Collection and the Youth Study Center

An Introduction to the ArtJail.

The Barnes Foundation[1] is home to one of the world's largest and most valuable collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir and Modigliani, as well as important examples of African sculpture. The mission of the Foundation is primarily educational, with a special emphasis on the enrichment of the lives of poor and African-American people.
After years of legal battles the Foundation is moving it's collections onto Philadelphia's Museum Row into a space on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway currently occupied by The Youth Study Center[2], a correctional facility for young people, most of whom are poor and African-American.
Rather than tearing down the existing The Youth Study Center building and moving the young inmates into a new building in a low-income neighborhood in West Philadelphia as was originally planned, we've taken a more innovative approach which hews closer to the educational intent of Barnes Foundation founder , Dr. Albert C. Barnes. The ArtJail combines these two institutions with similar missions into one large structure with facilities that are physically separate but visually mingled; the imprisoned children are edified, as Doctor Barnes intended, by the presence of great art, while Foundation visitors get a rare glimpse of the education of some of our culture's most under-privileged young people.

ArtJail inmates working on the green-roof farm • Ecological responsibility: The ArtJail is a "green" building; ecological design principles are employed throughout, with solar power generation on the facade and green roof, extensive use of daylight and passive heating and cooling, and, instead of the originally proposed demolition, the reuse of of the original Youth Study Center building as homeless shelter and multiplex theater.

My First Prison® inmates work in the Fine Art Television Network shipping depot with Barnes Collection patrons looking on.

Intelligent restructuring: The Youth Study Center benefits - not just from it's new partnership with the Barnes but also from privatization and a complete re-branding as a part of the for-profit My First Prison® chain. Who says crime doesn't pay? Certainly not our stockholders!
New Plantation Cafe
Fiscal responsibility: High culture can be profitable! The development of multiple, synergistic income streams will turn two deficit-running organizations into a dynamic profit center. The licensing potential of the multi-billion dollar Barnes Collection™ (one of the great untapped resources of the Philadelphia area) the draw of the unique dining experience of The New Plantation Cafe®, the Top of Barnes Condominiums and income from My First Prison® will turn a potential money-drain into a financial boon for the City.
  • Cultural Capital: An innovative institution like the ArtJail is a magnet for the Cultural Creatives who are so vital to the process of taking lackluster neighborhoods full of low and middle income people and turning them into exciting, dynamic, realtor-defined Districts chock-full of expensive restaurants and chic shops. The New Urban Paradigm that the Creatives represent means an influx of young people with disposable incomes into formerly depressed areas. The excitement that these young people will feel at the prospect of experiencing one of the worlds finest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern art can only be increased by the buzz that the Artjail's ground-breaking multi-media facade and interactive exhibits will help to create.
The giant television that fronts My First Prison® presents a 24 hour montage of violence to Philadelphia's Museum Row. • Innovative Edutainment: While the educational aspects of the ArtJail are more than skin deep, the skin is important too - our high-tech multi-media facade enlivens the culturescape of the Parkway with a constant stream of educational/commercial videos and still images. To maintain continuity with the vision of the founder of the Barnes, all Parkway-facing sections of the facade feature images of the original Barnes Foundation building in Merion PA.
Once inside the ArtJail, visitors will be edified by exact recreations of Dr. Barnes unique "groupings" of important paintings displayed alongside colonial handicrafts and classical African and Greco-Roman artifacts. We like to think that Dr Barnes would approve of our updating of his unique educational groupings: paintings from the rich storerooms of the collection are displayed along with contemporary artifacts like cell phones, music players, televisions, and designer clothing and weaponry. Visitors are equipped with portable electronic multi-media players which provide illuminating self-guided tours and commentary on the artwork and also allow impulse purchases of the contemporary artifacts with the iDocent's point-and-buy touch-screen display. This unique blend of the curatorial and the entrepreneurial preserves the spirit of the original groupings while offering a unique retail experience.
Galleries and cells intersect in Philadelphia's ArtJail Institutional synergy: Combining two institutions whose educational missions are so similar might seem like a no-brainer but the ArtJail is, believe it or not, the first time that a major art museum and a prison have been merged.
  Social responsibility: For many years Philadelphia's Museum Row has offered visitors a cultural experience not featured in most city's cultural districts; The long-term encampment of homeless people living inside bundles of plastic tarps along the Parkway facade of the Youth Study Center. Many are essentially permanent residents, using the scant protection that the overhangs above offer from the elements. Since many of these people will not fit into in crowded city shelters or have refused placements, the ArtJail will "bring the mountain" to the homeless by turning the old Youth Study Center building into a combined multiplex theater/ homeless shelter. For homeless people who don't want to enter the shelter, the areas between the two layers of the high-tech facade that surrounds theArtJail will be left open at ground level and will offer greater protection from the elements than the Youth Study Center facade.
Prisoners watch patrons watch prisoners at the ArtJail •Networked security at the ArtJail.
The continuous visual interpenetration of the penal and the gallery areas of the ArtJail produce an atmosphere of universal surveillance for both the inmates and the art patrons, reducing the need for guards in both sectors and creating a new paradigm for both milieus; our patented OmniOpticon® System. With expectations of personal privacy in our society worn down by the Internet, RFID, and other pervasive technologies the average person can expect to be tracked, watched, and recorded by a range of public and private, and, increasingly, by blurred public/private entities during pretty much every moment of their lives.


  • 2). Youth Study Center Website. - ^RETURN TO MAIN TEXT

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