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What is the Artist Project?

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 (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA.

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Artist's Role

Each year a new experienced artist with a passion for community arts plans and leads a project with children between the ages of six and twelve. The role of the lead artist is to guide the children and steer the work of art into its final exhibited shape. 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.

Participants

The MFA currently partners with ten community organizations including five Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston located in Blue Hill, Charlestown, Chelsea, Roxbury, and South Boston; Paul R. McLaughlin Youth Center, 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. The artist meets with approximately 10-15 children per session. The participating children meet with the artist after school during their scheduled visits.

Additional Support

Along with support from the Community Arts Initiative staff in the Museum's 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.

Timeline

The artist schedules a minimum of four visits lasting two hours with each of the ten organizations. Visits take place between 3 pm and 8 pm at the MFA and community centers.

  • Postmark Deadline: January 9, 2015
  • Notification: March 13, 2015
  • Initial Planning Meetings: May 2015
  • Sessions Begin: September 2015
  • Sessions End: March 2016
  • Installation: April 2016
  • Artist Project Exhibition Opening: May 2016

Application Process

Eligibility

Experienced artists with demonstrated ability to complete large-scale projects involving different elements, community partners, and groups of children.

Judging Criteria

Judges review applications for:

ENGAGEMENT
The lead artist engages visitors and participants with the MFA's collection and uses a variety of media in innovative, creative, and exciting ways. 

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

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

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

FLEXIBILITY
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.

Selection Process

Each year a different panel, typically composed of an MFA Curator, Art Educator, Artist, and a Community Art Director reviews 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: fmendez-diez@mfa.org.

How do I apply?

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.

Postmark Deadline: January 9, 2015
Notification: March 13, 2015

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

"The CAI project was a huge creative and professional boost for me as an artist and as a teaching artist. I was given many thoughtful resources, support, and access to many aspects of the Museum and the communities it serves. The museum collaboration was invaluable for thinking bigger and as part of larger exhibition and educational teams. It expanded the possibilities for service and for my career."
-Hannah Burr

"This project allowed me to introduce new and unique art-making materials and skills to the children, while also helping them explore the Museum's vast collection and the wider-world of Video Art. Most importantly, the MFA gave me the chance to create a fun and interactive environment where the students could learn, experiment, and bond with their peers, families, and communities. I would highly recommend that other artists apply for this opportunity."
-Jake Fried

Sponsors

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