Community Arts Initiative: The Artist Project—Call to Artists

Applications for 2020 Artist Project now open

The Artist Project is a collaboration between the MFA and twelve after-school community organizations in the Boston area. The Artist and the children create a collaborative work of art inspired by the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. The completed project is exhibited in the Edward H. Linde Gallery (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA.

Learn more about the Artist Project

Each year a new experienced artist with a passion for community arts plans and leads a project with children between the ages of six and twelve. The role of the Lead Artist is to guide the children and steer the work of art into its final exhibited shape.

The MFA provides the selected artist with a stipend of $25,000 and a budget of $5,000 for materials. The Lead Artist works with MFA staff and collections and is recognized across all exhibition materials including postcards and the MFA website.

Important Dates

Application Deadline

January 17, 2020


March 14, 2020

Application Process

In an attempt to be more environmentally-friendly we now request that artists submit applications digitally online. Please visit Submittable to apply.

Applications due January 17, 2020.

Submissions are reviewed by a panel composed of representatives from the MFA and participating community organizations.

The artist schedules a minimum of four visits lasting approximately 2.5 hours with each of the ten organizations. Visits take place between 3 pm and 8 pm at the MFA and community centers during after school hours.

Application Deadline: January 17, 2020

Notification: March 14, 2020

Initial Planning Meetings: August 2020

Sessions Begin: September 2020

Sessions End: April 2021

Installation: April/May 2021

Artist Project Exhibition Opening: May 2021

Experienced artists with demonstrated ability to complete large-scale projects involving different elements, community partners, and groups of children.

Judges review applications for:


The Lead Artist engages visitors and participants with the MFA's collection and uses a variety of media in innovative, creative, and exciting ways.


The project draws from the MFA’s collections and reflects the artist’s style.


The project can be completed within the timeframe and materials budget provided.


The artist conveys a clear vision of how the final work of art will be exhibited within the gallery space.


The project allows for multiple participants and considers after-school variables such as children leaving a session early, arriving late, or only participating in one session.

Each year a different panel, typically composed of an MFA Curator, Art Educator, Artist, and a Community Art Director reviews applications and recommends three final candidates. The Lead Artist is then selected by the MFA Linde Family Head of Community and Studio Arts, the MFA Manager of Community Arts and other MFA staff members following interviews of the final candidates. For more information please e-mail Rob Worstell, Linde Family Head of Community and Studio Arts, at

Gallery Space

The completed project is exhibited in the Edward H. Linde Gallery (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art at the MFA. Check out this slideshow to see the space allocated to the Artist Project.

About Community Arts Initiative

The MFA currently partners with twelve community organizations 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 Settlements House (USES); Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC); and Vine Street Community Center. The Artist meets with approximately 10-15 children per session. The participating children meet with the Artist after school during their scheduled visits.

Along with support from the Community Arts Initiative staff in the Museum's education department, the MFA also employs a Community Arts Liaison for each of the community centers. MFA Liaisons assist the Lead Artist during each session.

Learn More About the Community Arts Liaisons

Community center art directors are also available to assist during sessions. MFA staff from the curatorial, exhibition, and facilities departments support the exhibition installment.

Past Artist Projects


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