Barnes understood the power of words to bring about change. His overriding ambition was to engender a revival. Not a spiritual rebirth in any conventional sense, but a renewal of vigorous artistic and intellectual interest and activity that would surpass any previous high-water mark in terms of the numbers of ordinary people able to appreciate painting and sculpture. Walt Whitman’s impassioned cry—“To have great poets there must be great audiences too!”—was also Barnes’s watchword. “He took his museum awfully seriously,” activist educator Alvin Johnson, a founder and president of the New School for Social Research, recalled. “He thought it could be the beginning of a Renaissance.” 1