June 3–October 24, 2022

Community Arts Initiative: Empowered Faces

“Empowered Faces” is a mixed-media mural that showcases young artists’ self-portraits through abstracted forms. Artist and educator Perla Mabel collaborated with students from the Museum’s Community Arts Initiative partners in the Boston area on the project, teaching them to celebrate cultural identity and self-discovery in their art. The final layered installation documents the students’ creative processes, using collage and sewing to express how individual experiences come together to represent a diverse, collective community.

Works from the Museum’s collection by Faith Ringgold, Ekua Holmes, and others complement the students’ self-portraits by demonstrating how personal narrative and introspection result in unique, multilayered works of art. The young artists studied these works as a key part of the learning process, empowering them to create their own personalized representations. The cumulative mural includes mirrored acrylic, encouraging visitors to see themselves as a welcome part of the narrative.

“Empowered Faces” marks the 17th year of the Community Arts Initiative, through which the MFA partners with community organizations to introduce young people ages 6 to 12 to the Museum’s collection and the art-making process. For this exhibition, through the Community Arts Initiative, the Museum is proud to partner with the Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, the Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, the Jordan Boys & Girls Club, the Orchard Gardens Boys & Girls Club, Sociedad Latina, United South End Settlements, the Vine Street Community Center, the West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton, and the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury.

  • Edward H. Linde Gallery (Gallery 168)


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