MFA Boston Appoints Dr. Mariel Novas as Chief of Learning and Community Engagement

BOSTON (April 28, 2022)—Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has announced that Dr. Mariel Novas has been appointed as the Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement. Novas will work closely with Teitelbaum and her peers on the Leadership Team to strengthen the Museum as a welcoming civic space for all of Boston. She and her team will collaborate with colleagues across the institution to enrich the visitor experience by creating bold programming and educational initiatives that integrate diverse points of view. Novas, who most recently served as Transition Director for Mayor Michelle Wu, will begin her new role at the MFA on May 16.

“Mariel Novas is an outstanding community leader and educator with deep roots in Boston. Her unwavering commitment to learning and inclusion has been central to her previous work in a wide variety of organizations, and she has a track record of building reciprocal, collaborative and sustained community partnerships,” said Teitelbaum. “I am delighted that Mariel is joining us at the MFA at this time, bringing her belief in the role of art and public institutions into our conversations as we continue to build a museum that is reflective of the creative power of art and artists, reflects our city, and is inclusive and welcoming to all.”

As Chief of Learning and Community Engagement, Novas will oversee staff in the areas of learning, community engagement, public programs, inclusion, access, interpretation and teen programs. She will provide leadership to the MFA’s volunteers, collaborating with and nurturing this dedicated group as they work to extend the Museum’s reach and engage new audiences. Novas will also expand the MFA’s relationship with the Greater Boston community by forging new partnerships and strengthening existing ones such as with Boston Public Schools and the 12 after-school organizations that participate in the Museum’s Community Arts Initiative. 

“I'm thrilled to join the incredible team at the MFA as the new Chief of Learning and Community Engagement. I'm excited to marry my passions for education, community organizing, art and healing in this role by helping to deepen the Museum's ties to diverse community partners, foster opportunities for increased access and inclusion, and expand the ways in which we teach and learn,” said Novas. “The MFA is an inspiring place for cross-cultural engagement and dialogue, especially in this exciting moment for our city, and I'm truly humbled to be a part of its magic."

Prior to directing Mayor Wu’s transition team, Novas served as Director of Partnerships & Engagement for Massachusetts at The Education Trust and as Director of District and School Partnerships at Teach for America, where she founded the first-ever regional “Homegrown Program” focused on recruiting and supporting teachers who grew up in low-income communities in Massachusetts. She has also taught at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester. Novas holds a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s degree in Curriculum & Teaching from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in History & Ethnicity, Race and Migration from Yale University.