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.

Submissions are reviewed by a panel composed of representatives from the MFA, the SMFA, and participating community organizations.

What is the Artist Project?

The Artist Project is a collaboration between an experienced artist, the Museum of Fine Arts, and ten after-school community organizations in the Boston area. The program is designed to engage children in the art-making process under the guidance of an artist. Drawing inspiration from the MFA’s collection, the selected artist plans and leads an art project with children between the ages of six and twelve. The final product is a collaborative work of art reflecting the voices and ideas of participating children, and is exhibited in the Edward H. Linde Gallery in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA.

What is involved?

The MFA provides the selected artist with a stipend and a materials budget. The lead artist works with MFA staff and collections and is recognized across all exhibition materials including postcards and the MFA website. The artist should be available for planning meetings in May, but art sessions with children do not begin until September. All sessions must conclude by March as the exhibition grand opening is in April. The artist schedules a minimum of four visits lasting two hours with each of the ten organizations. Visits take place between 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm at the MFA and community centers. The role of the lead artist is to guide the children and steer the work of art into its final exhibited shape.

Who participates?

The MFA works with ten after-school community programs including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Blue Hill, Charlestown, Chelsea, Roxbury, South Boston, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, United South End Settlements, and West End House. The artist meets with 10-15 children per session and works with no more than 125 children over the duration of the project. The participating children, ages six to twelve, meet with the artist after school during their scheduled visits.

Does the artist receive any additional support?

Along with support from the Community Arts Initiative staff in the education department, the MFA also employs a liaison for each of the community centers. MFA liaisons assist the lead artist during each session. Community center art directors and MFA interns are also available to assist during sessions. MFA staff from the curatorial, exhibition, and facilities departments support the exhibition installment.

Who is eligible?

Artists must be experienced in exhibiting and working with groups of children. Artists who work in any medium are eligible to apply.

What are the judging criteria?

Judges review applications for:


The project inspires children and encourages parent, visitor, and community involvement.


The project draws from the MFA’s collections and reflects the artist’s style.


The project can be completed within the timeframe and materials budget provided.


The artist conveys a clear vision of how the final work of art will be exhibited within the gallery space.


The project allows for multiple participants and considers after-school variables such as children leaving a session early, arriving late, or only participating in one session.

What is the selection process?

Each year a different panel, typically composed of an MFA Curator, Art Educator, Artist, and a Community Art Director review applications and recommend three final candidates. The lead artist is then selected by the MFA Linde Family Head of Community and Studio Arts, the MFA Manager of Community Arts and other MFA staff members following interviews of the final candidates. For more information please e-mail Francisco Mendez-Diez, Manager of Community Arts:

How do I apply?

New Application Process

In an attempt to be more environmentally-friendly, we now accept and recommend that artists submit applications digitally by mailing a CD or DVD. Please Download the Application for more information.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Artist Project.


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