MFA Boston and Citizens Celebrate Juneteenth with Free Open House

10th-annual event offers free admission all day for Massachusetts residents.

BOSTON (May 25, 2022)—On Monday, June 20, 2022, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), and longstanding partner Citizens will invite the community to enjoy a free open house celebrating Juneteenth, the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S. Drop-in activities include art making; a City Talks discussion and collaborative art symposium and performance curated by community partners; and Spotlight Talks focused on Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas, a new exhibition that traces narratives of Blackness across the Atlantic world. The event offers free admission and access to special exhibitions for Massachusetts residents—tickets will be available in person on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Juneteenth is a beautiful opportunity for our community to come together in celebration of Black art and creativity. In partnership with Citizens, we’re excited to open our doors, outdoor spaces and exhibitions to all Bostonians as we honor the contributions of Black artists today and across time, and come together to elevate the best our city has to offer,” said Dr. Mariel Novas, Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement at the MFA.

“Citizens is proud to participate in this artistic conversation on cultural diversity, equity and inclusion through our sponsorship of the Juneteenth celebration at MFA,” said Lisa Murray, president, Citizens, Massachusetts. “The commemoration inspires us all to gather as a community and learn from one another to find a better path forward, together. Join our colleagues outside on the lawn sharing ice cream, and inside for art activities and a photobooth.”

Juneteenth is sponsored by Citizens. Art-making activity is provided by the Arbella Insurance Foundation.

Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, when news of the Civil War’s end reached Galveston, Texas—nearly two and a half years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. At the MFA, Juneteenth is one of four annual open houses where admission is free to all Massachusetts residents: Memorial Day (May 30, 2022), Juneteenth (June 20, 2022), Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 10, 2022), and Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16, 2023). The MFA has hosted a celebration marking the holiday since 2013.

Exhibitions on View

The celebration runs from 10 am to 5 pm, inviting visitors to explore more than a dozen exhibitions on view, including Dawoud Bey: Night Coming Tenderly, Black and Touching Roots: Black Ancestral Legacies in the Americas. The installation of Bey’s work features a selection of ten photographs from his 2017 series Night Coming Tenderly, Black, which centers on the Underground Railroad and imagines the perspective of an escaped enslaved person traveling on a secret route as they seek freedom. The new exhibition Touching Roots brings together work from artists—many from New England—who absorbed and reinterpreted African artistic practices, sacred customs and cultural expressions.

Spotlight Talks

Art of the Americas Wing, 3rd Floor

Visitors can join Spotlight Talks throughout the day in the new exhibition Touching Roots.

  • At 11 am and noon, writer and curator Chenoa Baker explores color as a subliminal message within evolving Pan-African consciousness in a talk inspired by the Kendrick Lamar song “HiiiPoWeR.”
  • And at 1 and 3 pm, artist Ifé Franklin, whose work is featured in Touching Roots, joins Martina Tanga, Curatorial Research and Interpretation Associate, Art of the Americas, to discuss his art and practice.

Outdoor Performance

Huntington Avenue Exterior at Forsyth Way

In collaboration with Boston-area cultural producers SIDE Presents and local collective the Artist Initiative for Revolution (AIR Boston), a collaborative art symposium and performance highlights Black resistance through dance, music, poetry, visual art and more. “The Most Estranged Fruits” is presented by Danny Rivera, lead organizer with AIR Boston, who has drawn talent from the collective to cast the performance. Performances take place at 11:30 am–12:00 pm, 2:15–2:45 pm, and 4–4:30 pm; in the event of rain, performances will take place in the Shapiro Family Courtyard.

City Talks

Edward H. Linde Gallery

A City Talks discussion at 1 pm moderated by Therlande Louissaint and Marlyn Urquiza of SIDE Presents welcomes two multifaceted artists to discuss artistic expression, inspiration and inner peace as well as the meaning of Juneteenth in the past, present and future: Stephen Hamilton, artist and MFA Table of Voices collaborator whose work is on view in Touching Roots and New Light: Encounters and Connections, and and Danny Rivera, lead organizer with the Artist Initiative for Revolution (AIR Boston).

Art Making

Huntington Avenue Lawn

Visitors are also invited to take part in an art-making activity on the Huntington Lawn from 10 am to 3 pm in conjunction with the Portraits of Leadership Community Project, a crowdsourced installation that will be presented alongside The Obama Portraits Tour arriving at the MFA in September. Visitors will have the opportunity during the celebration to create a portrait of a leader in their life using drawing, watercolor, or collage materials. For those who are interested, finished portraits will go on display at the Museum in the fall adjacent to The Obama Portraits Tour. More details about the project and submissions are available on In the event of rain, art making will be held in the Education Center in the Druker Family Pavilion.

MFA Job Fair

Shapiro Family Courtyard

From 10 am to 5 pm, visitors can learn about career opportunities at the MFA and find out how to apply to work at one of the world’s renowned art museums.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $192.1 billion in assets as of March 31, 2022. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a full-service customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,300 ATMs and approximately 1,200 branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers a broad complement of financial products and solutions, including lending and leasing, deposit and treasury management services, foreign exchange, interest rate and commodity risk management solutions, as well as loan syndication, corporate finance, merger and acquisition, and debt and equity capital markets capabilities. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

About the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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. In 1909, the MFA moved to its current home on Huntington Avenue and today, the Museum 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 Saturday through Monday, 10 am–5 pm; Thursday, 10 am–5 pm; and Friday 10 am–10 pm.  The Museum is located at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Sarah Drumm