The Artist Project is a collaboration between the MFA and ten after-school community organizations in the Boston area. The artist and the children create a collaborative work of art inspired by the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. The completed project is exhibited in the Edward H. Linde Gallery in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA.

Current Project

Second Hands

Students from the Museum’s ten Community Arts Initiative partners visited the MFA with artist Maria Molteni to create a multifaceted artwork inspired by the MFA’s collection and the global community of makers. Students selected items from a variety of vibrant garments acquired from second-hand stores in the Boston area, checked the tags to find where their garments were made, and then explored those areas of the world via the Museum’s collection. Using artwork from those places as inspiration, the students designed their own original patterns.

“Second Hands” exhibition page

Past Project


Over the course of a school year children visited the MFA six times and met with artist Hilary Zelson to learn about six elements found in every object and painting in the Museum’s vast collection: line, shape, form, value, color, and texture. As part of their visits the students took photographs and created artworks that demonstrate both their creativity and their new knowledge of how these elements are incorporated into art.

“Elemental” exhibition page

View all past projects

“The unique collaboration is an experience made up of imagination, play, investigation, and creativity. The children ask big questions like “How do you know art is beautiful?” “How did this stuff get here?” Their questions and curiosity led to lively conversations and exciting visual responses. Exploring art with the children was a great opportunity to discover art making in a new way and from some wonderful new perspectives.”
-Evelyn Rydz

“ ‘And their Families’ was my first museum exhibition and it was an amazing learning experience. Working with curators and the design department I walked away with firsthand knowledge on what it takes to put together a Museum-worthy exhibition. Seeing the project fulfilled and over 100 boys and girls proudly viewing their artworks was an experience I will never forget.”

-Raul Gonzalez


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