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The Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) has a new exhibit featuring Black artists and influencers — an installment that is curated by Black youth across the Boston area. Black Histories, Black Futures, which went on display in January, runs through late June.
The exhibit, featuring well-known contemporary artists like Archibald Motley, Norman Lewis, James Van Der Zee, Gordon Parks, and Dawoud Bey, also highlights new and emerging artists. Each of the selections were chosen by young scholars who are part of Boston MFA’s partnership with local youth empowerment organizations.
Black Histories, Black Futures takes up nearly all of the museum’s central gallery, the main section of the contemporary wing of MFA. The exhibit is divided into several smaller areas: “Ubuntu: I am Because You Are;” “Welcome to the City;” “Normality Facing Adversity;” and “Smile in the Dark.”
Honoring 150 years of Boston MFA’s central gallery
“Ubuntu: I am Because You Are,” and “Welcome to the City” both depict urban scenery from Boston, while “Normality Facing Adversity” and “Smile in the Dark” are photography exhibits, featuring pictures from citizens walking around the community.
Black Histories, Black Futures is an intentional reimagining of the Boston MFA’s integral central gallery in honor of the museum’s 150th anniversary, in 2020. The idea behind the gallery was to explore Black representation through both traditional artwork and emergence of personal expression, while integrating Black youth in decision-making for a prestigious art museum.
According to Makeeba McCreary, the MFA’s chief of learning and community engagement, “We want the MFA to become a place that feels open and inviting and welcoming to absolutely every young person, and every citizen in the city of Boston. ” The group of six youth who came together to curate the exhibit are known as the C6, and each student is a member of a Boston youth empowerment community group, from the nonprofits Becoming a Man, the BASE, and the Bloomberg Arts Initiative Program.
The exhibit is supported by Robert and Pamela Adams, Robert Ellis Alan, and the Terrell Family Foundation. To learn more about the exhibit, go to mfa.org.