Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Citizens Bank Celebrate Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. With Free Community Celebration

With support from Citizens Bank, free day at the MFA honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with inclusive programming

Marks opening of first MFA exhibition curated by local teens, organized in partnership with BAM and The BASE

Winners of a citywide student essay contest to be announced by King Boston

BOSTON (January 9, 2020)—For two decades, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by inviting everyone to a free, all-day celebration at the Museum. Made possible by Citizens Bank, this year’s celebration of Dr. King focuses on young people, including a first-ever exhibition curated by Boston teens and a citywide essay contest.

The annual event offers an array of performances, tours, talks, art-making activities and more on Monday, January 20, 2020, from 10 am to 5 pm. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Matthew Teitelbaum, the MFA’s Ann and Graham Gund Director, and Jerry Sargent, president of Citizens Bank, Massachusetts, will welcome visitors and commemorate the life and work of Dr. King.

“I’m proud of how the City of Boston elevates Dr. King’s legacy, and it’s my honor to celebrate MLK Day at the Museum with so many of my fellow Bostonians,” said Mayor Walsh. “I want to thank the MFA for once again opening its doors on this day, providing thousands of residents with the opportunity to explore art from many time periods and cultures. It is always uplifting to see families participating in activities and connecting to Dr. King’s message of empowerment and inclusion.”

“Our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is a time when art, people and ideas come together, offering a welcoming space where all Bostonians can gather and find inspiration,” said Teitelbaum. “By elevating the voices of young people throughout our galleries, we are continuing our commitment to being a platform where visitors can reflect, convene with their neighbors and hear from the next generation of artists and community leaders.”

Citizens Bank has sponsored the MFA’s Martin Luther King Jr. community celebration for 18 consecutive years, allowing the Museum to welcome more than 110,000 attendees for free since 2003.

“Each year it is incredible to watch our community come together to experience all that the MFA has to offer, while commemorating Dr. King’s legacy,” said Sargent. “All of us at Citizens are proud to support this community celebration and invite all of our neighbors to join us as we enjoy a day of art, music, reflection and so much more.”

Black Histories, Black Futures, a centerpiece of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2020, is the MFA’s first teen-curated exhibition of collection works, and the result of a new partnership with local youth empowerment organizations Becoming a Man (BAM), The BASE and the Bloomberg Arts Internship Boston program managed by EdVestors. Spanning three prominent galleries, the exhibition features approximately 50 paintings and works on paper from the 20th century—all of them powerful images created by Black artists. Staff from BAM and The BASE will mark the opening of the exhibition and honor the participation of their students in this project.

“We’re excited to open this new exhibition at our MLK Day celebration, marking the culmination of an important partnership that opens pathways for young people who would not ordinarily see themselves in a museum setting,” said Makeeba McCreary, Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement at the MFA. “The students invited to participate do not have a background in the arts but all live within a short distance of the MFA. They had never previously visited outside of a school field trip, and our goal is that, through this experience, they have found a new home within our galleries.”

As part of the program, Marie St. Fleur, Executive Director, King Boston will announce the winners of the second annual city-wide essay contest for middle and high school students inspired by the legacy of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. The first-prize winner will have the opportunity to read an excerpt from their essay to the audience.

Performances throughout the day include a multicultural and multigenerational dance by The WonderTwins, a kaleidoscopic view of African American entertainment traditions. Featuring an eclectic soundtrack ranging from popular music to Broadway musicals and hip-hop, their performance, “That’s Entertainment,” will combine dance, theater, mime, cabaret and more. In addition, Abilities Dance Boston, which promotes inclusion through dance, will offer two performances in the afternoon in the Shapiro Family Courtyard. For a complete list of activities and exhibitions on view—including the special Community Arts Initiative Partner Spotlight, the MFA Teen Arts Council’s participatory art project, and a special photo booth made possible by Citizens Bank—please visit

Additional programming support is provided by The Lowell Institute.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $164.4 billion in assets as of September 30, 2019. 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. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 2,900 ATMs and approximately 1,100 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. 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 rate products, and asset finance. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Founded on February 4, 1870, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), stands on the historic homelands of the Massachusett people, a site which has long served as a place of meeting and exchange among different nations. The Museum opened its doors to the public on July 4, 1876—the nation’s centennial—at its original location in Copley Square. Over the next several decades, the MFA’s collection and visitation grew exponentially, and in 1909, the Museum moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue. Today, the MFA houses a global collection encompassing nearly 500,000 works of art, from ancient to contemporary, and welcomes approximately 1.2 million visitors each year to celebrate the human experience through art as well as innovative exhibitions and programs. In 2017, Matthew Teitelbaum, the 11th director in the Museum’s history, unveiled MFA 2020, a three-year Strategic Plan that articulated a forward-looking vision for the Museum to become an institution of the moment and more connected to the community. The spirit of collaboration and engagement at the core of MFA 2020 has been brought to life over the past three years through the implementation of more than 50 initiatives, the full slate of which will be realized during the Museum’s 150th anniversary year.

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 is free for MFA Members, University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25) and is free to all visitors during Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Lunar New Year Celebration, Memorial Day, Free Fun Friday and Indigenous Peoples' Day. 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. 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. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


In partnership with Citizens