Wu, Former Mayor Janey To Be Recognized at BAAF Champion Reception

Special to the Times-Free Press

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and former Mayor Kim Janey will be honored by Boston Arts Academy (BAA) and Boston Arts Academy Foundation (BAAF) 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

About the Boston Arts Academy:

Founded in 1998 as the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts, Boston Arts Academy (BAA) has distinguished itself among urban public high schools as a leader in innovative and effective student-centered education. Consistently recognized locally and nationally for its achievements, BAA exemplifies the power of an arts-rich education and many BAA graduates have found success in college through the arts. In fact, for the past six straight years, at least 97 percent of BAA graduates have been accepted to college, with most being first generation college attendees. BAA’s dynamic program prepares graduates to be critical thinkers, effective communicators, collaborators, and creators. Students come from all 23 Boston neighborhoods to receive the formal arts training and academic instruction that will make them Boston’s next generation of artists and cultural leaders.

In October 2018, the BAA community broke ground on a new $125 million facility at its Fenway location, which will expand from 121,000 to 153,500 square feet and open for students in 2022. Among many highlights, it will include new and much-needed enhanced theaters, career center, academic classrooms, dance studios, music practice rooms and fashion technology studios and workspace. When BAA opens its new school building, the number of students enrolled will increase to 500, and eventually grow over the years. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and visit our website to learn more: https://bostonartsacademy.org/.

About the Boston Arts Academy Foundation:

Established in 1999, the Boston Arts Academy Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization that raises essential funds from private philanthropic sources to augment the Boston Arts Academy Foundation school budget. The Boston Arts Academy Foundation helps bridge the gap between the school’s allocation from the Boston Public Schools, and the true cost of a high-quality education that is both art intensive and college preparatory. Construction of the new BAA school building will not change BPS’s funding formula, which does not fully cover the cost of a college preparatory academic program and a competitive arts program. Through the six-year, comprehensive Building Our Future campaign, the Boston Arts Academy Foundation is raising $32 million to augment BAA’s school budget and ensure long-term sustainability. The campaign includes raising $10 million to bring the Boston Arts Academy Foundation endowment to $13.5 million and securing $15.5 million in operating reserves. The endowment and reserves support what makes BAA unique, including expanded programming, the Health and Wellness Program, STEAM (STEM+Art), and funding for the arts. The endowment will support college scholarships for graduating seniors. The campaign supports Boston Arts Academy Foundation’s Annual Fund, which raises $5,000 per student each year. Building Our Future will ensure that as BAA’s student body grows, students can become successful artists, scholars, and citizens. Visit our website to learn more: https://bostonartsacademy.org/foundation.

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