Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Citizens Bank Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with Free Open House

Day of Free Admission at the MFA Includes Music, Guided Tours and Remarks from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh

BOSTON (January 9, 2017)—On Monday, January 16, 2017, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with free admission and a variety of programs for all ages, sponsored by Citizens Bank. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh joins the celebration, commemorating the life and work of Dr. King with remarks at 11:45 am. The annual Open House runs from 10 am to 5 pm, and offers art-making activities, gallery tours of works by artists of color, a story hour and an array of musical performances. Free programs throughout the day include the Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight, featuring collaborative student artwork that honors Dr. King, and the construction of a one-of-a-kind mural based on themes of social justice, equality and unity by teens from Artists for Humanity (AFH)—a partner of Citizens Bank. Visitors are invited to participate in the completion of the mural, and Mayor Walsh will also lend a hand. 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 and design. Additionally, visitors have the opportunity to view the exhibition Wilson/Cortor—an in-depth look at artists John Wilson and Eldzier Cortor, who were dedicated to exploring the African American experience through divergent paths and disparate styles. A highlight of the exhibition is John Wilson’s monumental series of etched portraits of Dr. King based on the preparatory drawing for his bronze bust that now resides in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Visitors can follow the Open House and check for updates on all of the day’s activities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat, and by using the hashtag #MLKDay.

Throughout the free day, visitors can enjoy performances by musicians such as the Boston City Singers, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Dorchester since 1995, offering an exploration of music from around the world through singing, dancing, and drumming. The group provides musical training and wide-ranging performance opportunities to more than 500 singers, all of whom are between the ages 4-18 and live in Boston’s urban neighborhoods of Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park and Roslindale. Visitors can also celebrate freedom, education and self-empowerment through Hip-Hop in a performance with members of Gentei Kaijo, including Revive Music Group/Blue Note recording artist and Berklee College of Music assistant professor Raydar Ellis (MC/DJ), Christian Almiron (piano), David Cutler (bass), Lenny “Ox” Reece (drums), and Kappa Tanabe (guitar). The ensemble specializes in producing genre-bending, creative-concept live music shows with the purpose of educating and inspiring audiences about artistic and authentic forms of music.

Families can participate in art-making activities inspired by El Anatsui’s Black River (2009), as well as works on view in Wilson/Cortor. Visitors also have the opportunity to take 45-minute Highlight Tours of the MFA’s comprehensive collection of art by African Americans. A special talk presents a deeper look at Wilson/Cortor with Barry Gaither, director and curator of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Roxbury, who knew Wilson and Cortor personally.

For more than a decade, Citizens Bank has sponsored MLK Day by generously offering free admission to the MFA for all visitors. Since 2003, nearly 100,000 visitors have enjoyed special MLK Day programming and exhibitions.

“At Citizens Bank, we are committed to strengthening the communities where our colleagues live and work and remain inspired by Dr. King’s mission,” said Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are proud to partner with the MFA for the 14th year to help celebrate Dr. King’s legacy through this annual open house.”

On view in the Shapiro Family Courtyard, the Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight showcases works of art created for the MLK Day Open House by students from the MFA’s Community Arts Initiative partners. Through the Community Arts Initiative, the MFA has fostered partnerships with Boston non-profit organizations to introduce youth to the Museum’s collections and the art-making process when they’re not in school, while also helping them understand the important role art plays in their lives. The MFA currently partners with 10 community organizations, including five Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston located in Blue Hill, Charlestown, Chelsea, Roxbury and South Boston; Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester; West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton; United South End Settlement House (USES); Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC); and Vine Street Community Center. Together with these partners, the MFA has impacted the lives of nearly 40,000 children through sustained, engaging programs such as art-making sessions in the clubhouses, visits to the MFA and guided tours of the Museum’s galleries.

The free day also marks the final opportunity for visitors to experience the critically acclaimed exhibition William Merritt Chase, the first complete examination of the innovative painter and brilliant observer of 19th-century daily life in more than three decades.

The 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is one of five free Open Houses held at the MFA annually, along with Lunar New Year (Saturday, February 4), Memorial Day Open House (Monday, May 29), Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday (summer date TBD) and Fall Open House (Monday, October 9).

The Community Arts Initiative is generously supported by the Linde Family Foundation.

Teen Arts Council is funded by the Yawkey Foundations, the Pamela D. and Robert. W. Adams Fund, the Dorothy B. and Owen W. Robbins Teen Arts Council Fund, Robert E. Schiesske, the Dean Welfare Trust, the William E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, the Endowment for the Teen Arts Council, and the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation. With special thanks to Richard and Priscilla Hunt for their generous support. Sponsored by John Hancock.

William Merritt Chase was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia; and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition and its publication were made possible with the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art. Presented with generous support from The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, Inc., and the Deedee and Barrie A. Wigmore Fund in honor of Malcolm Rogers. Additional support from the Betty L. Heath Paintings Fund for the Art of the Americas, and the Eugenie Prendergast Memorial Fund, made possible by a grant from Jan and Warren Adelson. Media sponsor is WCVB Boston.

Free Fun Friday is made possible through the support of the Highland Street Foundation.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $147 billion in assets as of September 30, 2016. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides wealth management, mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in select markets nationwide. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance.

Citizens operates through its subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania as Citizens Bank, Citizens Commercial Banking and Citizens One. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.