The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), invites the community to their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House! Enjoy an array of vibrant, engaging, and collaborative programming scheduled throughout the day for all ages and abilities, in the spirit of Dr. King. Be sure to visit “Wilson/Cortor” in Galleries 144 and 153, highlighting two contemporary American artists—John Wilson and Eldzier Cortor—each dedicated to an exploration of the African American experience from divergent paths and with disparate styles. And don’t miss out; it’s your last chance to see “William Merritt Chase” in the Gund Gallery, LG31; and “HOMiE: In Our Eyes” in Gallery 231.
Citizens Bank has sponsored the MFA’s MLK Day Open House for more than a decade, celebrating the legacy of Dr. King and allowing the Museum to welcome nearly 100,000 visitors into our galleries for free to enjoy performances, tours, talks, art making, and more.
Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight
10 am–5 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Students from the Museum’s ten Community Arts Initiative partners collaborated to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through works of art made for today’s open house.
Boston City Singers
11–11:30 am and 12:30–1 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Boston City Singers, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Dorchester since 1995, provides musical training and performance opportunities to their more than 500 singers ages 4 to 18, most of whom live in Boston’s urban neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, and Roslindale. Today’s performers are ambassadors of the organization, the City of Boston, and the United States as they sing, dance, and drum their way around the world.
11 am–Noon | Gallery 171
Drop in to enjoy stories about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., community, and collaboration. Stay for one story or the whole hour; great for toddlers.
A Dream Realized
1–1:45 and 3:30–4:15 pm | Remis Auditorium
Revive Music Group/Blue Note recording artist and Berklee College of Music assistant professor Raydar Ellis performs with members of Gentei Kaijo in a special hip-hop presentation celebrating freedom, education, and self-empowerment. Musicians include Christian Almiron (piano), David Cutler (bass), Raydar Ellis (MC/DJ), and Lenny “Ox” Reece (drums).
Free performance tickets are available at Remis Auditorium Box Office starting one hour before show times. First come, first served; limited availability. Free performance ticket required for entry.
11:45 am–12 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and this special day of significance. Following remarks, Mayor Walsh; Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts; and others will add the first splashes of color to the one-of-a-kind mural created by Artists for Humanity to celebrate the holiday.
Teen Arts Council presents “HOMiE: In Our Eyes”
2–5 pm | Gallery 231
Join the Teen Arts Council for spotlight talks, teen and young adult spoken-word performances, and a special guest DJ in “HOMiE: In Our Eyes,” the MFA’s first exhibition of artwork by Boston teens in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Teen Arts Council.
Tours, Talks, and Walks
Family Art Walks
10:30 am, 11:30 am, and Noon | Meet at Sharf Visitor Center
Explore the Museum on a 30-minute, kid-friendly tour with one of our Museum educators.
ASL interpretation at 10:30 am.
Feeling For Form Tours and Sighted Guides
10:45 am and 2:45 pm | Meet at Sharf Visitor Center
Join a touch tour of select Ancient Egyptian works or a descriptive and multisensory tour of works by African American artists. Both tours are available at both times for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Sighted guides available for other events; ask to speak to the Access Liaison for more information at Sharf Visitor Center.
Meet at Sharf Visitor Center
English Tours | 11 am, Noon, 1, 2, and 3 pm
American Sign Language Tour, no spoken English interpretation | 12:30 pm
Tour en español | 1:30 and 3:30 pm
Learn about the MFA’s comprehensive collection of art by African American artists, with particular focus on “Wilson/Cortor.” Tours are 45 minutes and led by Museum-trained guides.
Behind-the-Scenes Curator Talk: “Wilson/Cortor”
2:30–3:30 pm | Alfond Auditorium
Enjoy an in-depth look at artists John Wilson and Eldzier Cortor. Patrick Murphy, Lia and William Poorvu Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, introduces the exhibition; then Barry Gaither, director and curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury, who knew both artists, gives personal insights.
Talk tickets are available at Alfond Auditorium Ticket Desk starting one hour before show time. First come, first served; limited availability. Free talk ticket required for entry.
10 am–4 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Look closely at the Eldzier Cortor etching, Blue Odalisque, in Gallery 144. Notice how the woman has her arms outstretched in a dance pose. Cortor was inspired by jazz music and dance. Walk to Shapiro Family Courtyard to create a collage inspired by the music you listen to!
10 am—4 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 159
Visit Gallery 168 to view Black River by El Anatsui. Look at how many diverse parts make up this one beautiful artwork. Return to the studio to create art that celebrates what makes you special! Add your unique masterpiece to our community mural and we’ll make one beautiful artwork together. This collaborative art project is on view all week long.
ASL interpretation 11:15 am–12:15 pm.
10 am—4 pm | Education Center in Druker Family Pavilion, Room 160
Visit Gallery 153 to look at John Wilson’s pastel drawing of Dr. Martin Luther King. Dr. King is a hero who fought for equal rights. Return to the studio to draw a pastel portrait of a woman or man who you consider to be a hero, or draw a portrait of Dr. King.
ASL interpretation 12:30–1:30 pm.
Family Art Cart
10 am–4 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Choose from activities designed to guide you through the galleries with fun facts, scavenger hunts, games, and more. Art Cards are available with tactile graphics, large print, and Braille.
Mural Making with Artists For Humanity
12–3 pm | Shapiro Family Courtyard
Join Citizens Bank and teens from Artists for Humanity (AFH) to add your creative mark to a one-of-kind mural based on themes of social justice, equality, and unity. AFH is a local organization working to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design.
Citizens Bank is proud to support Artists For Humanity.
Artwork created by students from the MFA’s Community Arts Initiative partners.