Courtesy of Citizens, admission to the MFA—including access to “Turner’s Modern World” and other special exhibitions—is free for all Massachusetts residents on June 20 in honor of Juneteenth, the oldest nationally observed commemoration of the ending of slavery in the US.

Join us for performances curated by SIDE Presents, art making, and talks in our latest exhibition “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas.” This exhibition traces narratives of Blackness across the Atlantic world by bringing together work from artists—many from New England—who absorbed and reinterpreted African artistic practices, sacred customs, and cultural expressions.

Events and Activities

Drop-In Art Making: Portraits of Leadership

10 am–3 pm
Huntington Avenue Lawn (rain location: Education Center in the Druker Family Pavilion, 159)

What does a leader look like to you? Stop by and create a portrait of a leader in your life using drawing, watercolor, or collage art materials. Whether a family member or friend; mentor, teacher, or coach, we want to see them all! For those who are interested, finished portraits will be featured in the exhibition “Portraits of Leadership,” which accompanies “The Obama Portraits Tour,” opening at the MFA on September 3, 2022.

MFA Job Fair

10 am–5 pm
Shapiro Family Courtyard

Learn about engaging, dynamic, and fun career opportunities at the MFA and find out how you can apply to work at one of the world’s renowned art museums.

Spotlight Talks in “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas”

11 am and Noon
Gallery 332

Inspired by the Kendrick Lamar song “HiiiPoWeR,” which traces the historical arc of radicalized Black movements and artistic genius, this Spotlight Talk explores color as a subliminal message within evolving pan-African consciousness. Presented by writer and curator Chenoa Baker.

1 and 3 pm
Gallery 332

Join artist Ifé Franklin and “Touching Roots” curator Martina Tanga for a conversation about Franklin’s art and practice.

The Most Estranged Fruits

11:30 AM–Noon, 2:15–2:45 pm, and 4–4:30 pm
Huntington Avenue Exterior at Forsyth Way
Rain location: Shapiro Family Courtyard

In collaboration with the MFA and AIR Boston, SIDE Presents honors Juneteenth with a multidisciplinary celebration honoring the richness of Black artists, culture, and stories. This collaborative art symposium and performance highlights Black resistance, which is at once beautiful, elegant, heavy, and dark. Through dance, music, poetry, visual art, and more that draws on key historical references, quotes, essays, and archival film, explore the myth of Black liberation in US democracy. Presented by Danny Rivera, lead organizer with AIR Boston (the Artist Initiative for Revolution). Rivera has drawn talent from AIR Boston’s collective to complete the cast for the performance.

City Talks: SIDE Presents inSIDE

1–2 pm
Gallery 168

Join us for a conversation with two multifaceted artists discussing artistic expression, inspiration, and inner peace as well as the meaning of Juneteenth in the past, present, and future. Featuring Stephen Hamilton, artist and MFA Table of Voices collaborator whose work is on view in “Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas” and “New Light: Encounters and Connections,” and Danny Rivera, artist and lead organizer with AIR Boston (the Artist Initiative for Revolution). Moderated by Therlande Louissaint and Marlyn Urquiza of SIDE Presents. Followed by a serenade from musician ToriTori.


Please let us know if you have any disability access needs or accommodations by e-mailing or calling 617-369-3189.



Lead Sponsor

Arbella Insurance Foundation

Art-Making Activity is sponsored by the Arbella Insurance Foundation.