Author Archives: Xavier

Friday , September 22 , 2017

8 Reasons Why You Might Need Water Purification Tablets

Water purification tablets can take impure or unsafe water and make it safe to drink. Water purification tablets are an effective way to purify water and have been proven to be effective against bacteria, viruses, cysts, and bacteria. They work by adding chlorine dioxide to the unsafe water. That is the same chemical compound in most municipal water supplies. There are many good reasons to use water purification tablets.

1. We need a lot of water every day

The truth is that we are made up of mostly water covered by a layer of skin. Maybe up to 60% of the human body is water and the brain and heart are composed of 73 percent water. Lungs are even more at about 83 percent water.

2. We need pure water

Every day we need almost three litres of water, and not just any kind of water. We need drinking or potable water with low levels of harmful materials and sediment. Water purification tablets can remove undesirable chemicals and contaminants, to make it safe to drink.

3. It’s fast and effective

Water purification tablets are a fast-acting and effective way to purify water on the road or in the field. It’s what the military uses when they are in transit or in mobile locations before they can set up more permanent water purification systems.

4. Reduce the risks from unsafe water

These tablets remove undesirable chemicals and biological contaminants from water to get it ready for human consumption. It has proven to be a better and faster way to purify drinking water than filtration, sedimentation and distillation.

5. Fewer stomach problems

One of the major dangers of drinking impure water is that it leads to a range of diseases and ailments, mostly related to the stomach area. The lack of clean water directly causes almost 90 percent of the 4 billion cases of diarrheal disease that happen every year.

6. Good for developing countries

In developing countries, safe drinking water is very hard to come by. Water purification tablets can make a village’s water supply safe and ensure that is free from the bacteria that carries many life-threatening diseases. For those of you interested, the Global Hydration website has more information available.

7. Improved outcomes for children

There are dangers, even in North America, if the drinking water supply is not fully purified and dangerous bacterial contaminants are not removed. Clean, healthy drinking water is essential to a child’s proper mental and physical development.

8. Reduced dangers for pregnant women

Pregnant women are also at risk from impure or unsafe drinking water. They are more likely to have babies that are premature or have low birth weights than women who have a safe and purified water supply. Water purification tablets can help alleviate that situation.

Monday , July 31 , 2017

4 Landscape Design Ideas That Add Value to Your Home

When you think about making home improvements to your property, you understandably may think about the aesthetic and functional benefits of the improvements. However, you may also be focused on how different types of projects can increase your property value. Landscaping projects are not typically associated with boosting property value, but the reality is that a gorgeous landscape design with thoughtful hardscape features can bolster value tremendously. These are some of the top design ideas to consider for your space.

1. Install a Gazebo
You can place a gazebo close to your home or farther out in the center of your yard, and this gives you an incredible location to relax with family and friends or to entertain. Many people love the beauty and style of gazebos, and this is a feature that can help you to potentially sell your home more easily when the time comes and to fetch a higher sales price from an interested buyer.

2. Build a Deck
Building a new deck in your yard is another exceptional idea to consider if you want to use landscaping plans to increase property value. A well-designed deck can extend your outdoor living space. Some decks may even have multiple levels, and this gives you the opportunity to showcase scenic views that you may enjoy from an elevated height. Keep in mind that you can consider using wood or synthetic materials to control the cost, durability and maintenance tasks associated with decks.

3. Add a Patio
Another idea is to install a patio on your property. Many properties have a basic concrete slab patio, but you can expand this space and use decorative techniques to dress it up. For example, stained and scored concrete can be installed to create the look of a wide range of materials. This includes:

  • Wood
  • Tiles
  • Flagstone

You can install a covered awning to dress up your space and to make it more comfortable to use regardless of weather conditions.

4. Install an Outdoor Kitchen
If you have a larger home improvement budget to work with, installing an outdoor kitchen is another great idea to consider. With an outdoor kitchen, you will have a dedicated space outdoors for cooking and entertaining. This feature may include a bar space, a grill, an outdoor fireplace and more for added benefit.

As you can see, landscape design can involve much more than adding flowers to your flower beds. The right landscaping plans can improve your use of your space and can add value and appeal to your yard. Now is a great time to reach out to a professional landscaper to learn more about design ideas that may work well in your space. If you would like more information, Royal Decks has additional resources available.

Thursday , June 8 , 2017

5 Signs You’re Paying Too Much for Farm Supplies

Whether you operate a small hobby farm or a much larger operation, you might have found that you spend a lot of money on farm supplies. Obviously, running a farm can be costly, but this does not mean that there aren’t ways that you can cut costs on the supplies that you purchase. These are a few signs that you might be spending too much on supplies and that it might be time to start looking for ways to cut costs.

1. You Don’t Buy in Bulk

If you find yourself going out and purchasing smaller amounts of things that you need a lot of, such as feed and shavings, you may want to consider budgeting so that you can buy these items in bulk. Even though this can be tough to get started with since it requires you to spend more money at once, you might find that it is worth it when you’re able to score lower prices overall. Plus, you can reduce the many trips that you might currently take to the farm supply store, so you can be less likely to pick up expensive impulse items that you don’t really need.

2. You Haven’t Compared Pricing

Some people head to the same farm supply store over and over again just because they are used to shopping there or because it’s slightly more convenient to their farm. However, if you have not made a point to check out pricing at other farm supply stores in the area or online, you might be missing out on some much better deals elsewhere.

3. You Don’t Take Steps to Avoid Waste

Taking steps to avoid waste of the items that you buy at the farm supply store, such as feed, shavings and other similar items, is very important if you want to save money. It can be easy for these things to be wasted, but the waste can add up and cost a lot more than many people realize! If you would like to learn more, visit Ace Peel Hardware & Supply and check out their online resources.

4. You Buy Unnecessary Extras

Do you find yourself buying the newest gadgets or the newest items that you see advertised in the store? If so, you may want to reconsider your buying habits. Sure, you might find cool new products every now and then that really help out with life on the farm, but overall, buying all of these extras can be quite costly and can really add up with minimal benefit.

5. You Don’t Have Your Items Organized

If you don’t keep your farm supplies organized, you might find yourself buying duplicates simply because you aren’t aware of where your existing items are. Making sure that everything is properly organized can make a huge difference in both how much you spend and how easy it is to get things done around the farm.

As you can see, it is possible to reduce the amount that you spend on items to help run your farm. If any of these five things apply to you, now is the time to make some changes. Then, you might just be surprised by how much you can save.

Thursday , January 26 , 2017

Understanding the Care and Maintenance Needs of Stucco

Stucco is one of the most common types of home exteriors found across the country and beyond, and there are many reasons for this. Stucco is considered to be a higher-end material, but it actually is more affordable than some other types of home exteriors you may be thinking about using to update your home. More than that, it has a great look, has exceptional durability and is rather easy to maintain. If you already have stucco installed on your home or if you are thinking about installing this material, you may be wondering what it takes to keep this material looking great for years to come.

Cleaning Your Stucco Periodically
One of the primary steps you need to take to maintain stucco is to clean it regularly. If you have a lighter color of stucco in place, it may easily show dirt from the wind, rainstorms and more. Because this material is rather grainy or texturized, it can hold onto dirt rather easily. You can clean this dirt and other debris away by pressure washing the surface. You may consider hiring a professional to tackle this job as too much pressure can crack the stucco.

Removing Mold From Stucco
In some areas, stucco is susceptible to developing areas of mold growth. This may be particularly true in high humidity areas, such as along the coast, as well as if your home is heavily shaded by trees. Mold can be unsightly on a home, and it may cause damage to your exterior over time. Therefore, you should remove it as soon as you notice its appearance. You may use a bleach and water combination along with a soft sponge to wipe away the mold. Allow the surface to dry overnight. If you notice that the paint has been discolored by the bleach, you may need to reapply a fresh coat of paint to the area after the mold is gone.

Covering Hairline Cracks With Paint
Hairline cracks are unfortunately common with stucco, and they are easy to deal with. Elastomeric paint can easily be used to touch up your existing stucco. If your cracks are thicker than a hairline in diameter, you may need to patch the area with fresh stucco before painting it. There are do-it-yourself stucco patching kits available through most home improvement stores.

Stucco is a wonderful material because of its look and durability as well as because of its easy-care requirements. Most months of the year, you can enjoy the look of your stucco without worrying about maintenance. However, from time to time, you may want to take additional steps to clean and repair the stucco for the best results.

Monday , May 9 , 2016

Sheet Metal Fabrication

3 Reasons Why Sheet Metal Décor Appealing

When most people think of home décor and ornamental decorations for their home, fabricated sheet metal is not the first thing that comes to mind; however, more and more homeowners are finding that sheet metal is not only highly functional and durable, but the flexibility in design allows them to create unique decorative designs for their home.

In an era the modern era, it would be hard to find one piece of material through which home and business owners have been able to completely transform boring architecture into literal works of art at the magnitude in which sheet metal has been used. Using sheet metal to decorate or adorn homes and commercial businesses is not new, however, designers are becoming more creative in the manner that this material is used on architectural erections, and this has led to an increasing demand by homeowners to include the use of sheet metal in the design of their homes.

Following are three powerful reasons why sheet metal décor is so popular among homeowners.

1. High Durability Factor
One of the primary functional and practical appeals of sheet metal is its durability, which definitely comes in handy when it comes to using metal shingles on a home. Not only does the metal, itself, hold up against the elements, but the manner in which the metal is treated guards against corrosion, rust and scratching — meaning ornaments made with sheet metal can be expected to last longer.

2. Easily Renovated or Restored
Through a process known as ornamental restoration, homeowners have the option to restore their metal decorations. This can not only save the homeowner money, but it will allow them to change the look and presentation of the home, without having to completely remodel it. Using fabricate sheet metal provides unlimited options in design and depth, giving each home its own unique personality.

3. The Shaping Processes Allow for Unparalleled Specificity
Because of the precision provided through the sheet metal fabrication process, the metal can be shaped and contoured to fit almost any situation. Through sheet metal fabrication, all types of metal, including brass, stainless steel, bronze, aluminum and more, can be fabricated in the desired form and thickness necessary to fulfill any design

4. Easy to Clean
First of all, sheet metals are naturally resistant to spots and corrosion, subsequently making them easy to maintain. And, in the case when there are minor spots, the metal is easy to clean.

For the homeowner who is looking for a unique way to add style and flare to their home, the use of sheet metal is one of the most effective and cost efficient ways to do it.

Wednesday , August 26 , 2015

Barnes Foundation “Greenwash” Can’t Clean Up Toxic Waste of the Move


“Greenwashing” is all the rage.  The London Olympics were promoted as the “greenest” ever and sponsors Dow Chemical and British Petroleum (BP) stepped up to reap the publicity benefits.  Now the controversial Parkway Barnes is getting a good hosing down of “greenwash.”



The New York Times’ RandyKennedy reports that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) status to the Barnes Foundation for the Parkway building that houses the art
collection of Albert Barnes.  A green roof, a cistern for watering the gardens, flooring in the galleries salvaged from Coney Island, etc. helped to win the USBC over.  How nice!

photo credit Tom Crane
We would love to know how they figured in the environmental impact of bringing stone from Israel’s Negev desert to cover the exterior of the 93,000 square-foot building!  (LEED requirements call for building materials that have been extracted, harvested, or recovered within 500 miles.)  But that is a detail. 


The real point is that for all of the “greenwashing” this LEED status offers, the Parkway building’s very existence meant destruction of the internationally-revered, sustainable, accessible cultural site of the Barnes Foundation in Merion just a few away, on the border with the City. 
Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA
The Barnes movers (a.k.a. Philly-stines) are being praised for a building that should never have been erected.  These are not people following the tenets of good stewardship of natural and cultural resources.  These are people motivated by commerce, political, gain, and “status” by exploiting amd debasing the Barnes legacy in a Big City power grab. 
Barnes Board Vice Chair Joseph Neubauer, former PA Gov. Rendell
As Philadelphian Sandy Bressler put it in a comment on the blog “Hidden City Philadelphia 



“Seeking LEED Platinum Certification for an unnecessary and inferior Barnes “Museum” less than 5 miles from the fully functional, recently renovated and historically significant original mocks the notion of sustainability.This whole endeavor is the essence of waste and destruction.”


Nice try, you guys, but the manipulations used to move of the art collection to Philadelphia (documented in the film The Art of theSteal”) have left an indelible toxic stench that even a “LEED Platinum” award cannot wash away. 

Wednesday , August 26 , 2015

Former Barnes Foundation President and CEO Kimberly Camp shakes things up!


Kimberly Camp, President and CEO of the Barnes Foundation 1998-2005 (Phila. Tribune)

Fascinating and disturbing news came out last week about the Kimberly Camp writing that money – or the total lack thereof — wasn’t actually the reason she and her employers sought court permission to transfer the legendary Barnes art collection from Merion to Philadelphia.  Weirdly — or maybe not —  the local papers of records (Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News) haven’t printed a word about it. That’s scary in itself, but let’s not digress just yet.

About a week ago, the brilliant but beleagured attorney Sam Stretton– whose case for saving the Barnes in Merion was dismissed AND sanctioned for $25,000 — got revved-up all over again.  The cause:  blog posts written by former President and CEO of the Barnes Foundation Kimberly Camp stating that bankruptcy was NOT the reason for the move of the Barnes art collection from Merion to Philadelphia.  Say, WHAT?    

Here’s what Kimberly Camp wrote on her blog:

“Bankruptcy was not the reason we filed the petition to move the Foundation to the city. At the time the petition was filed, the Barnes Foundation had a cash surplus and we had no debt — none. But, saying so made the rescue so much more gallant.”

Some people might read it and think, “Gee, I knew that. Why get excited?”  But Sam Stretton is not “some people” and he doesn’t horse around when he sees something outrageous.  He understood that the Court had been told a completely different story by Ms. Camp and her employers in lengthy hearings in 2003 and 2004 in which the Barnes in Merion was presented as a hopeless financial basket case.  Sam knew what he had to do.  The new information from this top Barnes administrator and key witness was new evidence that should be reviewed by the Court.

Samuel C. Stretton, Esquire

In no time flat, Sam fired off a Petition to Superior Court in Norristown, asking that the appeal he filed be “remanded” – sent back – to Judge Ott in Orphans’ Court for a hearing. (The Friends haven’t posted the Petition to their website yet, hopefully coming soon.)

By the following Monday morning, Joseph N. DiStefano broke the story with “Barnes ex-boss ‘We never said we were ‘bankrupt. Really?” on his PhillyDeals blog. Soon enough, the Associated Press had JoAnn Loviglio’s report up and running and by mid-day it had spread across the country.  Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times’ art critic Christopher Knight described it on the Culture Monster blog. In the midst of all that, reporter Amanda Mahnke posted a highly detailed report for a hyper-local news outlet called Ardmore “Patch.” Soon thereafter, Cheryl Allison — who has clocked more professional hours on the Barnes saga than anyone, anywhere —  posted her story for Main Line Media News. Next day, the NYTimes’ Randy Kennedy wrote “Ex-Barnes Head Says It Wasn’t About Money” in Arts, Briefly.  Arts blogs, non-profit blogs, law blogs, even the cool real-estate blog “Curbed Philly” had a “Barnes Storm” post by Liz Spikol

The Friends have never experienced coverage like this before – ever – and they are amazed, and also gratified.  The implications of this story validate what they have been trying to say for years — to the Court and anyone who would listen. There are other links pasted below.
Now what?  Will Superior Court remand the case to poor Judge Ott?  Will the Court tell Sam that he’s got to go forward with the appeal in Superior Court, at the risk of being sanctioned again, big time?  Will Sam and Barnes Watch withdraw their appeal?  Will Judge Ott take command of the situation and schedule a hearing? 

Whatever happens, Ms. Camp has sure shaken things up and gotten a lot of attention.  This might even boost sales of the book she is threatening to publish under the mouthfull of a title, “Defending the Dead: The totally true story about The Barnes Foundation transformation.”   Remember now, “totally true” means different things to different people — but that’s another story. 

Speaking of another story, let’s get back to that Inquirer business in a separate post. This is quite enough.
Other reports:


Wednesday , August 26 , 2015

Barnes World: Awards for Philly-Stines-in-Chief


(photo credit Tom Crane Photography, Inc.)

Philadelphia Inquirer’s Culture writer Peter Dobrin broke the news last night that  Aileen Roberts (Comcast) and Joseph Neubauer (Aramark Corporation) were the unanimous choices for The Philadelphia Award.

No reflection on Mr. Dobrin, but this news  is about as surprising as time marching on. 
We won’t bore you with the multiple layers of connections among Philly-stines that wormed their way into the Barnes and are ripping it apart. Just to mention that the Chair of the “Independence” Foundation that gives “The Philadelphia Award,” is Phyllis W. Beck, former legal counsel for the Barnes Foundation. And Comcast executive David Cohen heads the Barnes Corporate Council.  All very cozy in Philadelphia, as usual.

The award announcement does include a couple of real gems.  Joe Neubauer is given credit for raising $150 million for the new building and more than $50 million for the endowment.  Wonder what happened to Rebecca Rimel of Pew, who used to get credit for raising the big bucks? 

But wait a second. let’s remember that about $50 million for the pork barrel project is from Pennsylvania TAXPAYERS, part of the 2002 $107 million appropriation put in place when former state Senator for Philadelphia Vincent Fumo was the head of the Appropriations Committee.  He’s in jail now.

Then there are Aileen Roberts’ self-serving comments about the building on the Parkway, including “…it takes your breath away.”  But gee, she doesn’t explain why.  According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung piece, “The Revenge of the Rich”  “The ‘Barnes on the Freeway’ is going to look like a cross between a multiplex cinema and an upside-down milk carton. 

Having seen it, we can tell you that it really is breathtaking, but not in a good way; rather in a “what were they thinking?!” way.

But on the occasion of the “honors” bestowed within the clique known as true Philly-stines, let’s turn to Dr. Albert C. Barnes and his words at the dedication of the Barnes Foundation in Merion on March 19, 1925:
“The Foundation is an educational institution and not an entertainment bureau for ‘aesthetes.’ Anybody serious can link up with us, but nobody is rich enough or prominent enough to get in with us on those qualities [alone].“  
(Reference taken from Art, education & African American culture by Mary Ann Meyers)

If only the Barnes Board members’ and supporters (Pew, Annenberg, Lenfest, et al.) wealth was matched with enough sophistication, imagination, creativity to let them see how to embrace the unique place that Dr. Barnes bequeathed instead of remaking what was already here, already accessible, and already financially sustainable.

Wednesday , August 26 , 2015

Barnes Foundation’s Anti-Friend Sanctions and a Gold-Plated Law Firm

Ralph G. Wellington, Esquire

The Barnes Foundation’s lawyers at Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis reacted vigorously to the Petition filed last year by Samuel C. Stretton, Esquire on behalf of Friends of the Barnes Foundation, BarnesWatch, and a number of individuals. Their Brief  reminded the Court that no one other than the Pennsylvania Attorney General has legal standing to intervene in the Barnes matter —  especially not the pesky, tenacious Friends who had already been dismissed by Judge Ott in 2008. And especially not a number of the individual petitioners, who have tried multiple times before to seek Justice for the Barnes Trust in Court.

Seems the Schnader defense team’s legal arguments needed some heft to make them appear even more justified, especially when Mr. Stretton’s Petition so clearly spelled out how messed up the Barnes case is. And most of all, they needed something to get these extremely annoying Barnes’inistas to SHUT THE FUCK UP.

What to do? Do what any self-respecting gold-plated law firm does: ask Judge Ott to impose punishing financial sanctions forcing the Friends pay the Barnes Foundation’s legal fees and expenses – and make sure the bill is sizeable enough to provide damage control. In short, kill the messenger of the bad news that the Barnes case was, let’s say, deeply flawed.

When Judge Ott issued his Opinion last October, he dismissed the Friends’ Petition for lack of legal standing and he also upheld the Barnes Foundation’s demand for Sanctions.  He wrote that the Friends did something “santionable” by bringing up the topic of the $107 million taxpayer money for the Barnes project in Philadelphia. Judge Ott offered to hold a hearing on the subject of the sanctions.

Then the Barnes lawyers submitted their bills. These guys do not horse around.  $64,000. In the world of the Barnes Foundation, which has spent tens of millions on lawyers working cases brought by the Barnes, $64,000 is not much, but to the Friends it is. But that’s not the point. As Sam Stretton, Esq. explained in his Objections to the Sanctions, there is no legal basis for the sanctions. And Sam also explained why the amount billed by Schnader is outrageous.

So on February 2, Judge Ott held a hearing about it. Things were going along quite nicely with each side calmly setting out their positions. Then Ralph Wellington, Esquire took the stand to be questioned by another Schnader senior partner about the legal fees. While explaining to the Court why the $64,000 was justified, he stunned the Friends in the Courtroom with some news. The $450 an hour for services was a discounted rate and a huge bargain because, after all, the Barnes Foundation is a “charitable” organization. His usual hourly rate is $710 an hour.

Mr. Wellington didn’t flinch when talking about his pay scale, but you could hear a collective gasp of amazement from the Friends. And yet, it was a  moment of brilliant illumination.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and its client the Barnes Foundation are in another world! It’s the world of privilege and power, status and influence. It’s a world for Pews, Annenbergs, Lenfests, and Perelmans; not for people like the Friends.

Whether he meant to or not, Mr. Wellington pegged the Barnes move as an undertaking of, by, and for the 1%.

Here is a link to reporter Cheryl Allison’s story on the Court Hearing for Main Line Media News. KYW’s Suburban Chief Brad Segall also covered the story.The Philadelphia Inquirer didn’t cover  it, though.  The paper’s Culture Reporter explained that because Judge Ott hasn’t issued his Ruling, there was no “news.”  Judge Ott did not say when he will issue his final ruling on the matter.  The Friends plan to appeal.

Wednesday , August 26 , 2015

Plowing Under Progressive Ideals of the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway

photo by Jared Castaldi for Main Line Today


At the Friends of the Barnes Foundation Forum held in June 2006, historian Robert Zaller delivered a charge against Pew Charitable Trusts, the Annenberg and Lenfest Foundations, and others involved in the plan to move the Barnes art collection to Philadelphia.  His message rolled over the fully packed auditorium like thunder: 


 “It is the greatest act of cultural vandalism since World War II…it is our duty to stop it.”


The place was electrified.  Otherwise reserved citizens leapt to their feet and roared back with shouts of approval and applause.  You had to be there!  Actually, you really did have to be there because the newspaper didn’t report on the Forum. It might have been an unprecedented event about the region’s most controversial arts and culture story, but an editor of the Inquirer excused the lack of cverage with “Gee, we can’t cover everything?”  But that’s another story.


You can see an excerpt of the event on YouTube.


But what about Robert Zaller’s bold charge?  For most people, the image of Pew and Company carting works from the Barnes collection is not in the same mental framework as Nazi soldiers hauling away European art treasures. But for others, the image fits.
illustration by Allan Hunter   
But most of us do not understand the Barnes Foundation like Robert Zaller does.  He knows the Barnes on what you could call “a cellular level.”  Others may be more knowledgeable about the art appreciation and horticulture courses, but he has studied its bones, its essential ideas and philosophy as a reflection of American democracy.  And he is not alone in his accusation of vandalism.  University of Virginia Professor of History and Chairman emeritus of the NAACP Julian Bond echoes Robert Zaller, referring to The Philly-stines as “these vandals” in the documentary The Art of the Steal.
Now you can read Robert Zaller’s ideas in an essay in the Fall issue of the literary journal Boulevard.  The writing is brilliant.   Find yourself a copy of the journal at some Barnes & Nobles or Avril 50 (on Sansom near 34th) in Philadelphia and dig in.  Fair warning, though. With the understanding you’ll gain from the essay, the idea of dismantling what Albert Barnes and John Dewey established will likely be as gut wrenching as ever – but more so.  You might feel like spending the afternoon at the boxing gym.


The name of the essay is “Who Speaks for Matisse?: American Philanthropy and the Barnes Foundation.”   You’ll read about the Barnes Foundation, American democratic ideals and the Progressive movement: 
“In a time when many people felt that fine art was a thing for snobs and swells, (Albert) Barnes and (John) Dewey argued, courageously…that it was most of all for those whom Barnes called the ‘toilers,’ their possession and birthright, and the very school of their democracy.”


You’ll read about the Foundation’s art collection as a tool for education and empowerment of everyday citizens, protected (so Albert Barnes thought) from those who might want to exploits its treasures for commercial purposes:
If the value of a commodity lies…in its capacity to be bought, sold, or otherwise marketed, then the monetary value of the Albert Barnes collection was fixed at zero.”  (emphasis added) 


The program Barnes and Dewey developed was to engage people and have them learn to appreciate art by what is in front of their eyes, instead of resting on knowledge of art history or a canned audiophone script.  It was a simple, honest plan, meant to empower through education.  It is, as Robert Zaller wrote,
 “a quintessentially American ideal. It could have sprung from no other soil but ours, and represented no other faith and aspiration but ours.” 


But the Indenture of Trust that was supposed to secure the Foundation as a lasting compact between Albert Barnes and Pennsylvania has so far not prevented political, foundation, and commercial interests from getting their claws into it.  (The lawsuit brought by the Friends to re-open hearings is currently under review by Montgomery County Orphan’s Court Judge Ott.)


But here’s the question: are the American ideals Barnes and Dewey wanted the Foundation to fulfill woven into the fabric of the unique Merion experience or can they moved to a replica of it on the Parkway? We asked Robert Zaller and he explained that the Barnes’ vision –its ideals — and its physical embodiment –the Merion complex — are one specific thing, an indivisible whole, period.  In short, the Barnes cannot be itself anywhere else.  In his essay, he wrote that that place is to be “regarded – and protected – as hallowed ground” much as Monticello and Gettysburg. Respect for cultural heritage is supposed to be another important American ideal, right?
And another question:  Would those ideals be plowed under at a Barnes museum on the Parkway?  Yes.  The process has already begun.


It’s easy to see it.  For one thing, the motivation for The Move is commerce.  The goal of the decades-long plans of The Philly-stines was to turn the Barnes art collection into an engine for generating tourism dollars for the City of Philadelphia and a feeding trough for the Power Brokers.  (If you have any doubt, see who’s on the Barnes “Corporate Leadership Council”.)   

The Parkway Barnes is not about “more people can see it” but about “more people will spend a lot of money to see it.”  It’s not about education or a unique art experience, but having a goose that lays golden eggs — or so the Philly-stines imagine.   

Problem is, with the massive building on the Parkway and huge salaries of the executives, the price of admission will have to be one of the highest in the country, estimated between $20 and $25 per person.  Not affordable to people of modest means and obviously, the Progressive ideal of access for working people goes right out the window.  This is especially infuriating because even a tiny fraction of the money being sucked into the Parkway Barnes could provide low cost or even free admission to the Merion galleries.  Before Derek Gillman, the budget in Merion was only about $4.5 million –chump change for even a small group of socially-responsible philanthropists.


But even hefty admission prices make a minor contribution to the operating budgets of museums, so job number one for the Director and Development staff is pulling in donations.  They will try to pimp out the Barnes art collection in the huge and expensive new building, then promote corporate giving via Sponsorships and “The Circles.”  Barnes funding staff and expensive ads gush about “privilege” and “exclusive access” for donors who pony up enough cash to be admitted to the “Director’s Circle” (starting at $10,000) or better yet, the “Chairman’s Circle” ($25,000 and up).  The copy describing “Sponsorships” shows how this type of fundraising is in another universe from the progressive ideals Albert Barnes wanted to foster.
“Sponsoring a Barnes exhibition, program, or special initiative serves as an effective platform to reach your company’s target audience and to achieve strategic marketing and public relations results.” 

Or, the message on the Corporate Council page: 

“The Corporate Council and Circle members at the Patron level and higher enjoy exclusive entertaining privileges at both the Philadelphia and Merion campuses.”  
That is exactly the kind of thing Albert Barnes absolutely hated with a passion!  And if Merion were managed well and supported by a Board committed to the Barnes ideals, the Philly-stine approach to raising funds would not have a place at the table.


But what are true Philly-stines to do?  With a super-sized party house to run on the Parkway, the money’s got to come from somewhere.  So the cultural vandals of Merion become culture pimps on the Parkway, hawking Barnes’ art collection as out-of-this-world eye candy, in the process sucking the soul out of the experience Barnes and Dewey envisioned. 

The vandals would have people believe that this is what Albert Barnes would want.  Nothing could be further from the truth.