MFA Boston Announces Free "To Boston With Love Community Day" in Honor of One-Year Anniversary of Boston Marathon Tragedy

April 19 Free Day Includes To Boston With Love Installation, Quilts and Color Exhibition and America 4 Boston Prayer Canvas

BOSTON, MA (March 24, 2014)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), will open its doors on Saturday, April 19, 2014 for a free To Boston With Love Community Day—an opportunity for families in Boston and beyond to enjoy a day of art and fellowship. In commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the Museum will bring back the special To Boston With Love installation, featuring hundreds of hand-sewn flags created and sent to Boston from quilters around the world last spring. Additionally, visitors can sign and decorate a special panel for the America 4 Boston Prayer Canvas—a national art project offering a way for people to rally together—that will be unveiled on Sunday, April 20 at the Boston Red Sox game. The MFA’s To Boston With Love Community Day, which takes place from 10 am to 4:45 pm, will allow all Bostonians and Bostonians at heart (including runners, spectators and friends from around the world) to explore all of the Museum’s 143 galleries and special exhibitions, including Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection.

“This year, Patriots’ Day weekend will be a time to celebrate the spirit of our great city. As a destination for artistic inspiration and thoughtful contemplation, we wanted to open the Museum’s doors to welcome our greater Boston community and the many visitors to the area during this important weekend in Massachusetts,” said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA.

To Boston With Love (first installed at the Museum over Memorial Day 2013) returns to the Shapiro Family Courtyard for the month of April. Created by quilters around the world in response to the Boston Marathon tragedy, these small flags offer messages of hope and peace. Each flag is signed on the back by the artist, with his or her country—representing quilters from nearly every state in the US and countries in every corner of the globe, including Canada, Brazil, England, France, South Africa, Australia and Japan. The colorful installation in the monumental glass courtyard was so well received last spring, that the Museum decided to re-hang the flags again. To Boston With Love was a grassroots project conceived by Berene Campbell of Vancouver, Canada, and organized locally by Amy Friend of West Newbury, MA.

The return of To Boston With Love coincides with the opening of Quilts and Color in the Ann and Graham Gund Gallery. Celebrating the vibrant color palette and inventive design of the acclaimed Pilgrim/Roy Quilt Collection, the exhibition features 58 distinctive quilts and is the first to explore the collection’s development over five decades. Both trained artists, Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy acquired quilts with bold and eye-popping designs that echoed the work of mid-20th century Abstract Expressionist and Op Artists. The exhibition not only looks at the quilts themselves, but also examines how color theory relates to their designs. In conjunction with the exhibition, the MFA’s historic Pictorial quilt (1895–98) will be on view in the Art of the Americas Wing. Created by Harriet Powers (1837–1910), an African-American woman who was born into slavery in Georgia, Powers’ imagination and unique visual imagery make this work one of the most renowned of all American quilts. Three Spotlight Talks about this historic quilt will be held in front of the work during the day.

Visitors can also drop in to the Druker Family Pavilion in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art from 11 am–3 pm to sign and decorate a panel for the America 4 Boston Prayer Canvas, which will be combined with other panels from across the US and several other countries. The Prayer Canvas is a grassroots project to honor the Boston Marathon bombing victims and survivors, as well as the City of Boston. Designed to show America’s unity and humanity, panels from all 50 states, including one signed by members of the US Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, DC, will be laid out on Boston Common on April 15 and 16, and unveiled in their entirety at the Red Sox game on Sunday, April 20.

Additional MFA offerings include the Family Art Cart (10 am–4 pm), which offers fun and educational activities for children ages 4 and up. In the galleries, kids can piece together puzzles, learn mythical tales and uncover ancient Egyptian mysteries. Parents can also choose from an ever-changing array of interactive activities and Art Cards, or borrow a tote bag equipped with a sketch-book and colored pencils. The Family Art Cart is located in the Shapiro Family Courtyard, beneath the hundreds of flags installed for To Boston With Love.

For adults, the free Gallery Talk, Everything that Glitters is Gold (12–1 pm), examines techniques used to create Italian panel painting from the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, as well as the significance of their overall effect, including the sumptuous use of color and gold leaf. Additionally, the Artist Toolbox Cart explores the tools and materials used by artists (11am–4 pm), while free gallery tours are offered on different areas of the collection (10:30 am–3 pm).

The Museum’s free To Boston With Love Community Day takes place on Saturday, April 19, from 10 am to 4:45 pm, and is part of #BostonBetter—a project of Boston-area museums, libraries and archives to bring the community together. (In the wake of events last spring, the MFA was free on April 16, 2013 and again for three days over Memorial Day weekend 2013.)

Media sponsor for Quilts and Color: The Pilgrim/Roy Collection is WCVB-TV Boston.

Family Art Cart is made possible with endowment support from the Germeshausen Foundation Fund for Youth and Family Learning, and the John and Dorothy Wilson Fund. Additional support for self-guiding materials provided by The Lowell Institute.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, which includes an estimated 500,000 objects. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia, Oceania, and Africa; Art of the Ancient World; Prints, Drawings, and Photographs; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–4:45 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–9:45 pm Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger on weekdays after 3 pm, weekends, and Boston Public Schools holidays; otherwise $10. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25). MFA Members are always admitted for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit or call 617.267.9300. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.