Special to the Gazette
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former Mayor Kim Janey will be honored by Boston Arts Academy and Boston Arts Academy Foundation with the prestigious Champion Award at the 2023 Boston Arts Academy Foundation Champion Reception on March 16. The event will take place at the iconic House of Blues in Fenway on Lansdowne Street and will be followed by the opening night all-star performance of Shrek The Musical, put on entirely by Boston Arts Academy students. This will be the first live production in the school’s newly opened theater, and the first major production in-person in two years.
“We are so thrilled to honor Mayor Michelle Wu and former Mayor Kim Janey as our 2023 Champions,” said Boston Arts Academy Foundation President and CEO Denella J. Clark. “March is Women’s History Month, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by honoring the first two women mayors in Boston who both champion our students and the arts community.”
Boston Arts Academy Foundation is an independent charitable non-profit organization that helps bridge the growing gap between the Boston Arts Academy’s allocation from the Boston Public Schools, and the true cost of a high-quality education that is both arts-intensive and college preparatory. In 2018, Boston Arts Academy Foundation led a six-year, $32 million comprehensive campaign called Building Our Future designed to elevate the visibility of and support for Boston Arts Academy, and to ensure the sustainability of this unique education model. In just five years, Boston Arts Academy Foundation is halfway through the campaign and have exceeded the campaign’s $20M milestone goal.
Each year, Boston Arts Academy Foundation presents the Champion Award to a member of the community who embodies the school’s commitment to the arts, scholarship, and citizenship. Previous BAAF Champion Award honorees include former First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick, former Boston Mayor, current United States Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey and former Governor Charlie Baker.
Mayor Michelle Wu is particularly excited to be honored by such a diverse and inclusive organization. “Boston Arts Academy is an example of how we all benefit when we invest in our young people and give them the resources they need to succeed,” said Mayor Wu. “I’m honored to work alongside the Boston Arts Academy Foundation and all the partners who have helped to make modernized, energy-efficient school buildings like BAA a possibility.”
Mayor Wu has been a voice for accessibility, transparency, and community engagement in city leadership since being elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013. As a classical trained pianist, Mayor Wu continues to be a strong advocate for the arts in Boston. We witnessed her dedication to the arts shortly after her inauguration as Mayor, when she had the city-owned piano moved into her office so that she could play. In 2023 she pledged to make the largest investment ever in artists and the arts. She has backed that up by investing up to $1.7 million to preserve affordable artist workspaces in Dorchester.
In addition to Mayor Wu, former Mayor Kim Janey will also be honored by Boston Arts Academy Foundation. As Boston’s first woman and first black mayor, Mayor Janey successfully led the city through a multitude of unprecedented challenges, including the COVID-19 global pandemic. Mayor Janey introduced a citywide agenda of recovery and reopening, focusing on health and wellness while elevating arts and culture. Janey started the “Joy Agenda”, a city-wide program that featured investment in recovery and renewal through supporting arts and culture workers, local small businesses, and youth. Currently, Mayor Janey is President and CEO of the Boston-based nonprofit, Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath).
“The work being done by Boston Arts Academy Foundation is critical towards the advancement of arts and academic education in our city,” said Janey. “Champion Reception is a great example of how our community leaders can come together to support the highly talented and creative students at Boston Arts Academy. I am honored to be recognized as a champion for our community and will continue to be a champion for the arts and our youth.”
At the completion of the reception, guests will walk across the street and be treated to the first-ever musical performed in Boston Arts Academy’s new theater. The inaugural show, Shrek The Musical, is an entirely student run production. Boston Arts Academy chose the show because of the themes of inclusiveness and the welcoming of the diverse and underrepresented is in line with the culture of BAA.
Tickets to Champion Reception and opening night of Shrek The Musical are available for a donation of $125, while a ticket for all other performances are $25. Proceeds from the event will directly support BAA’s arts programming and more. For more information and to purchase tickets for all four performances of Shrek The Musical, visit https://bostonartsacademy.org/foundation/event/champion-reception-2023