Barnes Jawn(t) was commissioned by the Barnes Foundation and created by Obvious Agency. There were six Jawn(t)s between July 7th and August 21st 2018, and several ran concurrently on October 11th, 2019. Each Jawn(t)s was an improvised tour through The Barnes Foundation collection guided by fascinating local personalities. These off-the-cuff, sure-to-run-off-the-rails tours were led by artists, community leaders, and performers—all experts in their fields.


“By inviting community activists to serve as docents and make up the stories behind its art, the Barnes is disrupting itself–and connecting to its founder’s anti-elitist philosophy.” – Colin Lodewick, The Philadelphia Citizen, 2018

“I absolutely see this project as a disruption of space–disruption of elitist space, disruption of straight, cis, white space, disruption of colonial sensibilities.”– Shani Akilah, 2018 tour guide and Co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Co-Op


The Philadelphia Citizen

The Inquirer


Created by: Arianna Gass, Daniel Park, and Joseph Ahmed
Videography* by: Joseph Ahmed
Photography* by: Meryl Sands
Performed by: 15 Philadelphia-area activists, artists and community leaders, listed further down

​*All images and footage appear courtesy of the Barnes Foundation.

2018 Barnes Jawn(t) Tour Guides

 Ariell R. Johnson (Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse
Ashley Vogel (Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Chris Grant (Senior Vice President of Polygon, and The Verge
Elicia Gonzales (Executive Director, Women’s Medical Fund) 
Jas Morrell (Founder and Resident Tattooer, Spiritted Tattooing Coalition)
Madhusmita Bora (Co-Artistic Director, Sattriya Dance Company
Mo Manklang (Communications Director, US Federation of Worker Cooperatives)
Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews (Medium Theater Company
Reverend Nicolas O’Rourke (POWER, Living Water United Church of Christ)
Shani Akilah (Facilitator and Founder, Black and Brown Worker’s Co-op)

2019 Barnes Jawn(t) Tour Guides

Esteban Kelley (Anti-Opression Resource and Training Alliance)
Marangeli Mejia Rabell (Afrotaino Productions/Philadelphia Latino Film Festival
Timaree Leigh/HoneyTree EvilEye (Sex with Timaree
Starfire (Director’s Gathering
Mel Hsu (Girls Rock Philly