Day of Free Admission at the MFA Includes Remarks from Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Music, and Guided Tours

BOSTON (January 8, 2018)—On Monday, January 15, 2018, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), in partnership with Citizens Bank, invites the community to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a free open house. The annual event runs from 10 am to 5 pm, offering an array of programming throughout the day for all ages. At 1 pm, Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh will offer remarks to commemorate the life and work of Dr. King. Mayor Walsh will then join Jerry Sargent, president of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts, to add the first splashes of color to a one-of-a-kind mural created by teens from Artists for Humanity (AFH). The local organization works to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. Composed to celebrate themes of social justice, equality and unity, the interactive work will be a companion piece to the mural created by hundreds of attendees—including Mayor Walsh—at the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House and gifted to the City of Boston by AFH and Citizens Bank. In addition to hearing musical performances and joining gallery tours highlighting works by artists of color, attendees can view art created by students from the MFA’s 10 Community Arts Initiative partners and participate an art-making activity and scavenger hunt created by the MFA’s Teen Arts Council, who drew inspiration from movements of the past and present. Visitors can check for updates on all of the day’s activities on the MFA’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as share their own photos using #MLKDay and #mfaBoston.

Citizens Bank has sponsored the MFA’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Open House for 16 consecutive years, allowing the Museum to welcome more than 110,000 attendees for free since 2003.

“We’re proud to partner with the MFA to celebrate Dr.King’s legacy and allow so many guests to come and experience the great activities the open house has to offer,” said Jerry Sargent, president, Citizens Bank, Massachusetts. “We are inspired by Dr. King’s mission and values and are committed to helping our colleagues and communities reach their potential.”

Musical performances taking place throughout the day include a special concert by Lawrence “Larry” Watson, inspired by his book H.E.M. (Highly Emotional Music), which chronicles the social, cultural, economic, political and moral changes that have occurred in the U.S. following the civil rights movement. Honoring the life and work of Dr. King through artwork, music and King’s own words, the performance is supported by the Berklee College of Music Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement. Youth string quartets from Project STEP (String Training Education Program) will perform a variety of classical compositions in the MFA’s Shapiro Family Courtyard. Project STEP’s mission addresses the imbalance of racial and ethnic minorities represented in classical music by providing musically talented children with comprehensive music and string instrument instruction through mentoring and performance opportunities. Additionally, poet and playwright Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler will present a selection of spoken word and performance poetry at an open mic, inviting visitors to add their voices to a collective, community poem that he will read to close the program.

Led by Museum-trained guides and available in English, Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL), gallery tours throughout the Art of the Americas Wing will focus on artworks acquired through the MFA’s Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection—showcasing paintings, sculptures, jewelry and other objects by artists including Edward Mitchell Bannister, Grafton Tyler Brown, Robert Duncanson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Kerry James Marshall, Hughie Lee-Smith, Loïs Mailou Jones, Rohan Crite, Norman Lewis, Archibald Motley, James Richmond Barthé, Art Smith, Wilfredo Lam, Hale Woodruff and Beauford Delaney. Additionally, 15-minute Spotlight Talks will highlight Iago’s Mirror (2009) by Fred Wilson, a Secretary desk (1841) by Thomas Day and a Storage Jar (1857) by Dave the Potter.

An annual tradition, the Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight—on view in the Shapiro Family Courtyard—will present artworks created by students from the 10 community organizations that partner with the MFA, including five Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston located in Blue Hill, Charlestown, Chelsea, Roxbury and South Boston; 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 2018 display will feature T-shirts screen-printed by the students, inspired by graphic design from the civil rights movement.

Families can participate in art-making activities inspired by photographs of diverse families in (un)expected families and an immersive installation featured in Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics, A Collaboration with Nobuo Tsuji and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Also on view during the Open House are the special installation Masterpieces of Dutch and Flemish Paintings and the exhibitions Seeking Stillness, Mark Rothko: Reflection, Annette Lemieux: Mise en Scène and Black and White: Japanese Modern Art.

The 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is one of five free Open Houses held annually at the MFA, along with Lunar New Year (Saturday, February 10), Memorial Day Open House (Monday, May 28), Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday (summer date TBD) and Fall Open House (Monday, October 8).

Open House programming is made possible in part by The Lowell Institute.

The Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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

Teen Arts Council is funded by the Pamela D. and Robert W. Adams Fund, the Dorothy B. and Owen W. Robbins Teen Arts Council Fund, Robert E. Schiesske, the Dean Welfare Trust, the William E. Schrafft and Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation, the Endowment for the Teen Arts Council, and the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation. With special thanks to Richard and Priscilla Hunt for their generous support. Sponsored by John Hancock.

Teen Arts Council is funded by the Yawkey Foundations, the Pamela D. and Robert. W. Adams Fund, the Dorothy B. and Owen W. Robbins Teen Arts Council Fund, Robert E. Schiesske, the Dean Welfare Trust, the William E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, the Endowment for the Teen Arts Council, and the Paul and Edith Babson Foundation. With special thanks to Richard and Priscilla Hunt for their generous support. Sponsored by John Hancock.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $147 billion in assets as of September 30, 2016. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides wealth management, mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in select markets nationwide. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance. Citizens operates through its subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania as Citizens Bank, Citizens Commercial Banking and Citizens One. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. 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; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 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. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum 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. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.