Rep. John Lewis Receives Liberty Medal

Jeff Rosen, Lynne Honickman and Rep. John Lewis

Jeff Rosen, Lynne Honickman and Rep. John Lewis

Rep. John Lewis has joined the ranks of such luminaries as Nelson Mandela, Sandra Day O’Connor and Shimon Peres. Like them, the longtime Georgia congressman is now a recipient of the Liberty Medal from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. As described on the Center’s website, “the Liberty Medal is awarded annually to men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe.”

Mayor Jim Kenney, former Councilwoman  Marian Tasco, former Mayor Wilson Goode, Sharmain Matlock-Turner, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle and State Rep. Dwight Evans

Mayor Jim Kenney, former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, former Mayor Wilson Goode, Sharmain Matlock-Turner, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle and State Rep. Dwight Evans

Lewis has demonstrated such “courage and conviction” throughout his life as a champion of civil rights. A product of the segregated South, Lewis joined the Civil Rights Movement at a young age, and throughout his career, maintained his courage in the face of many challenges, such as arrests and police brutality. He took part in the Freedom Rides to oppose bus segregation, and as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he organized sit-ins and other protests. Along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis was a member of the Big Six, the group that organized the March on Washington, and he was the youngest speaker at that historic event.

Harold and Lynne Honickman and Marguerite and Jerry Lenfest

Harold and Lynne Honickman and Marguerite and Jerry Lenfest

Later, Lewis focused much of his attention on voting rights. He was one of the leaders of the Edmund Pettus Bridge crossing, during which peaceful advocates for voting rights were viciously attacked by Alabama state troopers. He also led voter registration drives and directed the Voter Education Project.

Lewis began his own political career as a member of the Atlanta City Council, and since 1986, he has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. For 13 years, he worked to promote the federal legislation that created the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall in Washington.

Ira Lubert, Colleen Wyse and Dr. Steve Klasko

Ira Lubert, Colleen Wyse and Dr. Steve Klasko

Phladelphia Mayor Jim Kenney calls Lewis “an inspiration to people all over the world.” Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, describes Lewis as having “helped to extend the blessings of liberty and equality to all Americans.”

Among the attendees at the Liberty Medal Ceremony were elected officials as well as other civic and philanthropic leaders. The Liberty Medal itself was sponsored by Ira Lubert, trustee of the National Constitution Center and co-founder of the firm Lubert-Adler.

Photos by Bonnie Squires.
Channel 6 ABC will air the Liberty Medal Ceremony on Sunday, October 2, at 5:30 p.m. and on Sunday, October 23, at 1:30 p.m.

Barnes Foundation Opening Gala


Senator Arlen and Joan Specter admired the Barnes Foundation galleries which are exact replicas of the galleries on Latch’s Lane in Merion.

Gala celebrates inauguration of New Philadelphia Campus designed by Tod William Billie Tsien Architects

Star-studded event raises more than $3.7 million. Proceeds support the care and preservation of the world-renowned Barnes Collection.

— by Bonnie Squires

Among the hundreds of movers and shakers who delighted in the Barnes Foundation Gala and celebrated the opening of the museum’s move to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway were many Jewish philanthropists who donated to the $200 million project.


Bonnie Squires greeted Brian Williams as he arrived for the cocktail reception.

Brian Williams, who anchors the NBC network nightly news, served as master of ceremonies for the dinner, following a lavish cocktail reception inside the museum.  The galleries with hundreds of fabulous Impressionist paintings collected by Albert Barnes were open for the gala guests.

The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Court also included an additional set of galleries for visiting exhibits.  The first exhibit is dedicated to the life and times of Albert Barnes, including letters to Barnes from some of the artists whose works he collected.

More after the jump.


Linda Paskin and
Jeanette Neubauer.

David and Helen Pudlin with Sharn and James Rohr, PNC Financial Services CEO.  Mrs. Pudlin served as executive vice president and general counsel for PNC Financial Services until recently.

Aileen and Brian Roberts (shown on the left) co-chaired the inaugural gala.  Mrs. Roberts chairs the Building Committee of the Barnes Board of Trustees and Comcast Corporation, headed up by Brian Roberts, co-sponsors the inaugural year with PNC.

Performances by the Avalon Jazz Band, Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir, and special guest artist and multiple Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/musician Norah Jones entertained the 900 guests. In addition to Barnes architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and landscape architect Laurie Olin, Pennsylvania Governor Thomas Corbett and First Lady Susan Corbett attended the celebration along with Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Mrs. Lisa Nutter. Premier sponsors of the opening gala and the inaugural year for the Barnes in Philadelphia are PNC and Comcast.

The Barnes Foundation inaugural gala was co-chaired by

  • Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation,
  • Aileen K. Roberts, Chair of the Building Committee of the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees,
  • James E. Rohr, Chairman and CEO of The PNC Financial Services Group, and Sharon Rohr.

Steve Harmelin, Esq., treasurer of the Barnes Foundation board, with his wife Julia and Dr. David Paskin.

Marina Kats,  Bernard Spain, and Marguerite Lenfest.

Marsha and Jeff Perelman with friends.

Sidney and Caroline Kimmel.

Governor Ed Rendell , Judge Marjorie O. Rendell and Billl Hankowsky.

Sharon Pinkenson had a chance to chat with Sidney Kimmel major donor and also film producer.

(Left to right) David L. Cohen executive vice president of Comcast Corporation and his wife Rhonda Cohen; Dave Watson, COO of Comcast;  Charisse Lillie, Esq., president of the Comcast Foundation, and her husband Tom McGill.

PNC Bank president Bill Mills and Barnes Foundation vice president of trustees Joe Neubauer.

Patrons Joyce and Dr. Herbert Kean; Elaine Levitt; and Gerry Lenfest.  

In addition to gala co-chairs, Barnes Foundation Executive Director and President Derek Gillman, Barnes Foundation Chairman Dr. Bernard C. Watson attended with Mrs. Watson, along with

  • Barnes trustees The Honorable Jacqueline F. Allen and Mr. Roy Beity,
  • Barnes Foundation vice chairman Joseph Neubauer and Jeanette Neubauer,
  • Mr. and Mrs. Steve J. Harmelin,
  • Dr. and Mrs. Neil L. Rudenstine,
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Bonovitz,  
  • Mr. and Mrs. Donn Scott,
  • Mr. and Mrs. Andre Duggin,
  • Brenda and Larry Thompson,
  • Gwen and Colbert King, Rajiv Savara, and
  • Barnes Foundation Trustee Emerita Agnes Gund.

Philanthropists and art supporters in attendance included:

  • Leonard J. Aube, Executive Director, The Annenberg Foundation,
  • Rebecca W. Rimel, President and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts,
  • H. Fitzgerald Lenfest, President of the Lenfest Foundation, and Mrs. Marguerite Lenfest;
  • David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation;
  • Thomas K. Whitford, Vice Chairman, PNC Financial Services Group;
  • J. William Mills, III, Regional President, PNC Financial Services Group;
  • David W. Haas, Chairman, Board of Trustees, William Penn Foundation;
  • Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthew V. Hamilton, Jr., Gala Advisory Committee;
  • Mrs. Samuel M.V. Hamilton, Hamilton Family Foundation;
  • Mrs. and Mrs. John S. “Seward” Johnson II, The Sculpture Foundation;
  • Sidney Kimmel, founder of the Sidney Kimmel Foundation, and Caroline Kimmel;
  • Harold Honickman, Chairman of Pepsi-Cola, and Lynne Honickman;
  • Jane and Leonard Korman, Founders, Jane and Leonard Korman Foundation;
  • Bruce and Robbi Toll, Collectors;
  • Robert B. Menschel, Chairman Emeritus, The Museum of Modern Art Board of Trustees;
  • Mr. Ira Gluskin and Mrs. Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, Collectors and Founders of Gluskin Charitable Foundation;
  • Jeffrey and Marsha Perelman;
  • Mr. and Mrs. Leon Polsky,
  • Mr. and Mrs. Peter Boris and
  • the Roberts Family.

A number of artworld leaders were also present, among them:

  • Glenn Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art, and Mrs. Lowry,
  • Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas,
  • Lisa Dennison, Chairman, Sotheby’s North and South America,
  • Jock Reynolds, Director, Yale University Art Gallery,
  • Barbara Guggenheim, partner, Guggenheim, Asher and Associates,
  • Matthew Marks, owner of Matthew Marks Gallery NYC, and
  • artist Ellsworth Kelly, whose 40-foot-tall Barnes Totem ws commissioned by Jeanette and Joe Neubauer and marks the entrance to the new Barnes Foundation museum.

Other notable guests included:

  • Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Judge Marjorie O. Rendell,
  • Senator Arlen and Mrs. Joan Specter,
  • Jeffrey Lurie, Owner, Philadelphia Eagles,
  • Ed Snider, Owner, Philadelphia Flyers,
  • Paul Matisse, Grandson to painter Henri Matisse, and Mimi Matisse,
  • Robert R. Jennings, President of Lincoln University, and Ms. Alma Mishaw,
  • Olivier Serot Almeras, Consul Général de France, Ambassade de France, and Mrs. Almeras,
  • Sharon Pinkerson, head of the Philadelphia Film Office,
  • The Honorable Felix Rohatyn and Mrs. Rohatyn, and
  • John Henry Merryman.

Barnes Foundation CEO Derek Gillman.

The Executive Producers for the event were Fred Stein, the Creative Group, Inc. and Karen Homer, HKH Innovations, LLC. Artistic Producers for the performance were Wayne Baruch and Chuck Gayton, Baruch/Gayton Entertainment Group.

The Barnes Foundation’s 93,000-square-foot building designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, conceived as a “gallery within a garden and a garden within a gallery,” is set within a four-and-a-half-acre site with landscape design by OLIN. The building provides significant new facilities for the Foundation’s core programs in art education, as well as for temporary exhibitions and visitor amenities. At the same time, the legendary Barnes art collection is displayed within a 12,000-square-foot gallery that preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the original Merion gallery, as well as the founder’s conception of a visual interplay between art and nature.

Ten days of free admission to the Barnes Foundation’s Philadelphia campus began on May 19 and continued through May 28, made possible by the generosity of the premier sponsors of the opening, Comcast and PNC. The inaugural week culminatesd with a Memorial Day festival weekend, from 10 am on May 26 through 6 pm on May 28, featuring a variety of entertainment and programs and offering round-the-clock free admission to the renowned collection and entire campus. Tickets are required for all opening events and are available online or by calling 1.866.849.7056.

The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.”

The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast, Old Master paintings, important examples of African sculpture and Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles, American paintings and decorative arts and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. The Barnes Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics programs engage a diverse array of audiences. These programs, occurring at the Philadelphia campus, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive, experimental and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

Betsy Cohen, head of The Bancorp Bank, also serves on The Barnes Foundation Corporate Council.

The Barnes Arboretum, located at the Merion campus, contains more than 2,000 species/varieties of trees and woody plants, many of them rare. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and subsequently added to under the direction of Mrs. Laura L. Barnes, the collection includes a fern-leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Laciniata’), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important plant collections include Lilacs, Peonies, Stewartias and Magnolias. The Horticulture school at the Barnes Foundation in Merion has offered a comprehensive, three-year certificate course of study in the botanical sciences, horticultural practices, garden aesthetics, and design through a well-grounded, scientific learning experience since its inception in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes.

Photo Credit: Bonnie Squires.