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Do you make music? Are you a poet? Do you express yourself through dance or theater? What places in Boston come to mind when you think about Black History? Where do you go for inspiration?

The Mayor’s Office of Diversity and The Mayor’s Office Of Arts And Culture are calling on students residing in Boston to document Black History Inspiring Our Future through performance art.

We invite you to learn about places where the Black women and men who shaped Boston’s history made their mark. Can they inspire you? Tell us how you will build on the successes of Bruce Bolling, Donna Summer, Phillis Wheatley, A. Philip Randolph, Mel King, Bill Russell or any other African American hero you can think of! Will you become a great artist, public servant, athlete, parent, or business owner? Show the world!


Black History Inspiring Our Future


The purpose of the contest is to inspire Boston students to celebrate the city’s Black History and envision themselves as future contributors, in the spirit of the many great Black historical figures that have made the city great.

How it works

Students are asked to visit one or more sites related to Boston’s Black History and submit artwork inspired by the place they visited. The City of Boston will provide a list of suggested sites to visit, but participants are encouraged to introduce new sites they believe to be relevant to Boston’s Black community.


We will receive submissions in the following categories:

  • Music

  • Performance art (dance, short play, comedy, etc.)

  • Spoken word poetry

  • Digital artwork (including photos, slideshows, and PDFs)


  • This contest is open to all students of public, private, charter, or home school programs residing in the City of Boston and currently enrolled in grades 6 through 12.

  • Students can participate as individuals or in teams.  

  • Winners must be available to tape a news segment the morning of Friday, February 23rd (10AM -12PM).


Participants need to provide:

  1. Artwork: A file in one of the allowed formats (.pdf, .doc, .mp3, .mp4, .avi, .mov, .wmv, .flv, no longer than 5 minutes).

  2. A paragraph detailing the reason they chose the particular site and how its history influenced their artwork (.pdf, 500 word limit).

  3. A picture of the contestant visiting the site (.jpeg, .png).

Contest Dates 

Thursday, February 1st, 2018 at 12:00 AM through Thursday, February 22nd, 2018, at midnight.

Access to Digital Tools

If you need assistance to access the internet or digital tools to participate, please visit any branch of the Boston Public Library or one of the Boston Centers for Youth and Family (BCYF) that provide free internet access. For more information on free internet access or digital skills resources, visit the Broadband and Digital Equity website.

The Sites

The following is a list of sites suggested by the City of Boston. Participants are encouraged to visit one of these sites or submit artwork related to sites not on this list that they consider relevant to the Black community in Boston:

  1. 12th Baptist Church (50 Warren St, Roxbury)

  2. A. Philip Randolph Statue (Back Bay MBTA Station, 45 Dartmouth Street, Back Bay)

  3. Bill Russell Statue (City Hall Plaza)

  4. Black Heritage Trail (includes 14 sites in the Beacon Hill neighborhood).

  5. Bruce C. Bolling Building (2300 Washington Street, Roxbury)

  6. Donna Summer childhood home (16 Parker Hill Ave., Mission Hill, not open to public)

  7. Haley House (2302 Washington Street, Roxbury)

  8. Harriet Tubman Memorial (Harriet Tubman Park, Pembroke St. and Columbus Ave. South End)

  9. Henry Hampton Home (88 Lambert Street, Roxbury, not open to public)

  10. Malcolm X. House (72 Dale Street, Roxbury, not open to public)

  11. National Center of Afro-American Artists (300 Walnut Avenue, Roxbury)

  12. Phillis Wheatley statue at the Boston Women’s Memorial (Commonwealth Avenue Mall)

  13. South End Technology Center @ Tent City (359 Columbus Ave, South End)

  14. William Monroe Trotter House (97 Sawyer Ave., Dorchester, not open to public)


  • 1/15: City of Boston announces contest.

  • 2/1 to 2/16: Online portal open for submissions.

  • 2/16: 10:30 PM, Boston Channel 25 Black History Month Half Hour Special airs.

  • 2/19-2/21: Judges select winners for three categories and two age groups (6-8 grades and 9-12 grades, 6 winners total).

  • 2/23: Awards Ceremony at National Center of Afro-American Artists (10 AM-12 PM).

Please Note:

  • Digital submissions only.

  • Only complete submissions will be reviewed; please see above “Submissions” section above for requirements.

  • By participating in this contest, you are granting the City of Boston permission to use your submitted artwork in informational materials.

Please direct all questions to Tania Del Rio at tania.delrio@boston.gov or 617-635-0910.

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