At year’s end, I think about how, in this moment, the MFA honors our commitment to create a community where all belong. So much is happening: vibrant gallery installations, the return of live public programs including lectures and MFA Late Nites, and a robust slate of exhibitions to come as our curators collaborate locally and internationally.
This year we fully funded our MFA Pathways Internship Program, one of the largest paid internship programs in the nation, declaring our promise to be accessible and open to audiences and learners of all ages. Conceived in 2021, the MFA Pathways program provides paid internships across the Museum, with more than 60 students having participated over the course of this first year. Welcoming a diverse cohort of students into learning-based placements across the Museum’s spaces and teams, MFA Pathways provides an hourly wage, peer networking, mentors and new colleagues, as well as support through a professional development program. These skills and opportunities can be crucial connecting steps in a career path, opening doors for young professionals in all aspects of our work here: curatorial, education, conservation, development, accounting, hospitality services, security systems, and much more.
For museums, this can be a game changer, introducing a broader cohort more fully reflecting our community to an actively evolving field of cultural practice. The program not only provides opportunities for students and recent graduates to learn how museums work, but these exceptional young people immediately effect change on our culture by their presence. They challenge us to think harder about why we do what we do, and who it is for. They passionately advocate for honest, intentional action on sustainability, cultural heritage, obligation, and mission.
I think of this summer’s MFA Pathways cohort and feel pride: pride in their comfort with questioning, the support and openness they felt to think deeply about issues, give their thoughts voice, and pride that they cared enough about each other, about what we do, and who we are, to ask us to be better.
So, we eagerly await the next group of students this spring and those to follow, understanding each time they arrive and dig into the life and spaces of the Museum, that our mutual growth makes us a stronger, more welcoming place of discovery. And encourages more engagement and connection with communities across Boston.
With best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year,
Ann and Graham Gund Director