Barnes Foundation fundraising appears stalled

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Under the headline ‘Fund-Raising Work Is on Track for Barnes’ Move to Parkway,’ Thursday’s Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the nearby Barnes Foundation, with its extraordinary collection of Post-Impressionist, early Modern, African, Navajo and other art, ‘has raised about $160 million’ toward its controversial plan to move from a landmark home in the suburbs to a new, tourist-oriented building planned for a center-city site (photo at right).

Which is odd since, at the new building’s groundbreaking six months ago, the Inquirer reported that the foundation had raised ‘close to $160 million’ for the project.


And also reported that by May 2006 -- four years ago -- the Barnes had raised $150 million. The majority has come from the state ($32 million).

The target is $200 million, three-quarters for construction (scheduled for completion next year) and the rest for an endowment. Many fundraisers will tell you that the last hump in a campaign is often the highest hurdle. Momentum jump-starts only as a project opening nears. Perhaps that’s the case here.
Still, the numbers don’t exactly match the journalistic encomium. It’s starting to look like the ‘track’ that Barnes fundraising is on might be Amtrak.

-- Christopher Knight (follow me on Twitter @KnightLAT)