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MFA, Boston Partners With BPS to Bring the Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat and His Peers to Local Students

MFA to Provide Free Tickets to Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation and Showcase Art Challenge Submissions Inspired by the Exhibition 

MFA Basquiat Exhibit BOSTON (April 6, 2021)—During this year’s April Vacation Week (April 21–24), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is partnering with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to offer 160 free tickets for students, parents and educators from over 15 high schools to see Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation. Earlier this year, BPS students, elementary through high school, experienced the exhibition through distance learning sessions led remotely from the Museum by an MFA educator. During these sessions, the students also participated in an art challenge, making works in response to the prompt, “Who inspires you as an artist?” A selection of the submissions will be showcased on mfa.org starting April 9. 

"The arts play a crucial role in fostering Boston’s economic, civic and cultural recovery while enriching and empowering the lives of our residents," said Mayor Kim Janey. "I am incredibly excited that the partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Public Schools will provide our students with access to one of America's most exceptional artists."

“Basquiat and his friends knocked on the closed doors of the art world, the knock turned into a push and their passion, creativity and deep commitment ensured their voices would always be heard,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. “We are proud to honor these artists, and look forward to welcoming our BPS students to the Museum to experience this revolutionary moment in art history for themselves.”

Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation brings together more than 120 works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and 11 of his peers—A-One, ERO, Fab 5 Freddy, Futura, Keith Haring, Kool Koor, LA2, Lady Pink, Lee Quiñones, Rammellzee and Toxic—all artists whose techniques share a conceptual approach rooted in early hip-hop practices. Their subversive abstractions generated a new style all their own, giving rise to the insurgent “post-graffiti” movement in American art and catalyzing the rise of hip-hop and street art as globally dominant phenomena. Writing the Future illuminates this unprecedented fusion of creative energies and its defiance of longstanding class and racial divisions in 1980s New York City as these artists demanded—and commanded—the attention not only of the art establishment, but of the world at large.

“We are thrilled about this partnership that will provide access to our students to this powerful, important art, and bring our schools into closer collaboration with our cultural institutions. I’ve always believed that the arts are a tool to amplify the power, voice and agency of our young people,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Cassellius.

“It is always critical that young people have access to arts education but even more so now, in the wake of the past year of tremendous challenges brought about by the pandemic, remote learning and the devastation of social isolation. I am so proud to be able to be in service to my BPS family, its children and educators, fulfilling the promise that the Museum is a place of respite, healing and joy,” said Makeeba McCreary, Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement at the MFA. “I am even more excited that through this exhibition we are celebrating Black and brown artists, their positive impact on the art world and proof of the possibilities for our future young artists to find their way onto the walls of the MFA.” 

The MFA will launch the next round of its distance learning sessions for individual classrooms on April 6, which are offered free of charge to Boston Public Schools and Lawrence Public Schools through a pre-funded program. Program offerings, running through June 10, include “Everyday Inspiration: Finding Art in Community and Place” (recommended for grades 1–5) and “Art of Ancient Nubia” (recommended for grades 6–12). Additionally, the Museum continues to offer free livestreamed programs that are open to all K-12 students and teachers.  

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.

Open five days a week, the MFA’s hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am–5 pm. All visitors and members must reserve tickets in advance for both general admission and special exhibitions, available online on mfa.org/visit. The Museum is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.