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The Artist Project, a Community Arts Initiative Program


The Artist Project is a collaboration between an experienced artist, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and twelve after-school community organizations in the Boston area. 

The program is designed to engage children in the art-making process under the guidance of an experienced artist. Drawing inspiration from the MFA’s collection the selected artist plans and leads an art project with children between the ages of six and twelve. The final product is a collaborative work of art, reflecting the voices and ideas of participating children, and is exhibited in the Edward H. Linde Gallery (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art for up to six calendar months.

The MFA provides a stipend of $25,000 to the selected artist and a budget of $5,000 for materials. The Lead Artist works with MFA staff and collections, and is recognized across all exhibition promotional materials including postcards and the MFA website. The Artist should be available for planning starting in August 2021, and art sessions with children starting in September 2021. All sessions must conclude by April 2022 as the exhibition grand opening is planned for May 2022. The Artist works with MFA staff to schedule four to six visits, lasting approximately 2.5 hours, with each of the twelve organizations. Visits typically take place between the hours of 3 pm and 8 pm at the MFA and community centers during after school hours. The Artist may also choose to have some live, online classes with students, however a minimum of two sessions per organization must be held in person. The role of the Lead Artist is to guide the children and choreograph the collaborative work of art into its final exhibited shape.

The MFA currently partners with twelve community organizations including Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC), the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Sociedad Latina, United South End Settlements (USES), West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston-Brighton, and Vine Street Community Center. Additionally, we are also proud to partner with six of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston: Berkshire Partners Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club, Charlestown Boys & Girls Club, Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club, Gerald and Darlene Jordan Boys & Girls Club, Orchard Gardens Boys & Girls Club, and the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury. 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 administrative staff in the Learning and Community Engagement division. The MFA employs a Liaison for each of the community centers. MFA liaisons are familiar with the Museum’s collections and  assist the Lead Artist during each session at the Museum, community centers, and online. Community center art directors are also available to assist during sessions. MFA staff from the curatorial, exhibitions, and facilities departments support the exhibition installation.

The Museum purchases all materials used in the project and assists in installation of completed project. All materials purchased are the property of the MFA. 

The Museum does not provide housing or a dedicated Artist's studio space for this project.

Artists must be experienced in exhibiting and working with groups of children. Artists who work in any medium are eligible to apply. The Lead Artist is selected through a competitive process which includes a two-stage jury process.

All components of the application must be completed and submitted by the Friday, January 22, 2021 deadline in order to be eligible for consideration. Judges review applications for: 

  • Engagement: the project inspires children and encourages parent, visitor, and community involvement. 
  • Creativity: the project draws from the MFA’s collections and reflects the Artist’s style.
  • Feasibility: the project must be completed within the time frame and materials budget provided.
  • Clarity: the Artist conveys a clear vision of how the final work of art will be exhibited within the gallery space.
  • Flexibility: 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.

The Edward H. Linde Gallery (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art is located on the first floor near the Linde Family Wing group entrance. It is a highly-trafficked and visible area filled with natural light. The wall dedicated for the exhibition space is 13’ high by 37’ – 5 3/8” wide. Artists are strongly encouraged to visit the space before submitting an application.

Every year a different panel, typically composed of an MFA Curator, Art Educator, Artist, and a Community Art Director, review applications and recommend three final candidates. The MFA Linde Family Head of Community and Studio Arts, the Community Arts Organizer, the MFA Manager of Community Arts Operations, and other MFA staff members select the Lead Artist following interviews of the final candidates.

Join us on Monday, December 7, 2020 from 6:00-7:30 pm or Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 10:00-11:30 am to learn more about the CAI Artist Project!  

For additional information, or to RSVP to one of the information sessions, please email artistproject@mfa.org.

 Deadline: Friday, January 22, 2021
 Notification: No later than Friday, March 19, 2021

In an attempt to be more environmentally friendly, we request that applications are only submitted using the Submittable platform no later than January 22, 2021.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please provide the following:

  • Applicant and reference contact information.
  • Letter of Support: A letter of recommendation from an organization that serves children.
  • Project Proposal: A brief description of the project concept along with title, media, objective, connection to the MFA collection, community relevancy, and materials or equipment required.
  • Visual Rendering: A sketch, mock-up, or other visual example of the completed project in the Edward H. Linde Gallery (168) in the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art on a wall measuring 13’ high by 37’ – 5 3/8” wide.
  • Project Timeline: A brief outline of the project/session schedule from September through early April.
  • Artist’s Resume/CV
  • Artist’s Work: Up to ten images of produced artwork. For New Media and Time-Based Media (Sound, Film/Video, etc), send up to ten minutes of video/sound. 


The Artist Project and the Community Arts Initiative are funded by a generous grant from the Linde Family Foundation.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.