Sunday, May 20, 2012

Barnes Gala: Norah Jones, Brian Williams, & Pretty Women

Three's Company-Rita Rome, Sidney Kimmel aka John Ritter, and Caroline Kimmel
The 900 guests that paid $5000 a ticket were so eager for the new era of the Barnes to begin that most arrived far earlier than the scheduled 6 30 pm start of the cocktail party. The gala that marked the opening of the Barnes Collection on the Parkway was such a draw that New Yorkers like Ambassador Felix Rohatayn came and former Philadelphians such as Sidney Kimmel returned to be part of the Barnes' special night. Media came from as far away as Japan.

Jazz Guitarists greeted the guests as they entered the campus.

The guests included the architects, Tod Williams and Billy Tsien, and renowned sculptor Ellsworth Kelly, who created the Barnes Totem placed at the entrance of the property, and Governor Tom Corbett and his wife.

Billy Tsien had mixed feelings about attending the gala. Tsien and Williams competed with 24 other architects to get the Barnes commission. "We probably never going to get a commission like this again," said Tsien.

She was happy that I liked that the entrance was on 20th Street and not on the Parkway. "It was controversial to put the entrance on 20th Street. Many people thought the entrance should have been on the Parkway, which is what most museums would have done." she said."We wanted to create a sanctuary."

This picture of Suzanne Roberts displays the tranquility that  museum goers will  feel  upon entering
Having lived in Israel for 10 years, I was proud that part of the building was constructed with two different stones quarried in Israel- limestone from the Negev desert and the world famous Jerusalem stone. Williams said, "When we went to Israel, we knew immediately that we wanted the limestone and especially the Jerusalem stone because it was so warm."

The dinner portion of the evening was held in a specially constructed tent on the Parkway. Paintings from the Barnes collection initially flashed on the screens.While NBC anchor Brian Williams was the MC and Singer Norah Jones was the featured entertainment, the rollicking  Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir stole the show. The black gospel choir was included as a nod to Dr. Barnes. His mother used to take him to hear black gospel music as a child.

The Renoirs on the wall competed for attention with the beautifully dress women at the gala.

The President of Lincoln University Robert Jennings and his wife
Ann Hamilton sharing a secret.

For some like Brian Roberts, Shanin Specter, and Steve Burke, the gala was a place to do business. 
The nicest father-daughter duo in the city-Lindy and Ed Snider

David and Dorothy Binswanger 
Oscar winner Christina Lurie


  1. ah! I went to this wonderful gala as well... I wish I would have known half the people invited in that room! I took a lot of pictures and now I'm matching faces and conversations with names and titles!


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