Barnes locale picked

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The Barnes will move to the Youth Study Center location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Mayor John Street announced today. It’s a relief to me–and I’m sure to the residents of the nearby neighborhood who must be happy to see the depressing Youth Study Center replaced and the ball fields–the other proposed site for the Barnes–preserved.

I had been worried about the Barnes replacing one hostile community with another by usurping the important community ball fields, which serve as an important locus for community activities and neighborhood spirit.

Fortunately, replacing something that was definitely functioning and serving the public well with something that may not fly at all is no longer an issue.

Today, Ed Sozanski got in a final (I hope) whine about something lost by moving the Barnes. But it’s lost anyway. The Barnes was going to go down the tubes. I call the judge’s decision making lemonade out of lemons.

The Philadelphia Inquirer today also wrote oodles about the Barnes, and naysayer Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes has come to his senses and sees the point of survival over romanticism.

As for Lower Merion Township and its whining neighbors, they are hoist by their own petard, having failed to support the Barnes in a timely fashion by finding a way for more parking and more visitors. But the township is not the only entity that deserves blame. It’s a long saga of blame starting with Dr. Barnes himself and running through the institution, its staff, its board. Long-range thinking and planning were not part of the picture.

Seems like someone came to their senses, twice, to make the Barnes move possible, so kudos to the Street administration and Judge Ott. Golly, I hope this all works out. The art is tremendous. Let people in to see it, asap. In the meanwhile, if you yearn for the good old Barnes/estate/private collection phenomenon, make your reservation now.

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