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City Hall Galleries

The galleries at Boston City Hall promote and exhibit the work of Boston area artists.

You can find information about the galleries, as well as what's currently showing, on this page.

Current and upcoming exhibits

Exhibits
  • Location: Scollay Square Gallery, Third Floor Boston City Hall
  • Dates: June 1 - July 15, 2022

Anytime Now painting by Frantz Lexy
"Anytime, now" by Frantz Lexy, acrylic mixed media on wood panel, 24 x 18 inches.

“Regarding Boston” features seven Fountain Street artists and multiple meanings of the word “regarding” – to look at, to be about, to hold in high esteem. The exhibition, which includes painting, photography, mixed media, and video stills, highlights Bostonians and Boston cityscapes, locations of note, and iconic sculptural details. Taken together, the work assembled here portrays a vibrant and multi-faceted view of this beloved city. 

Participating artists are all core members of Fountain Street Gallery: Marie Craig, Frantz Lexy, Vicki McKenna, Lior Neiger, Chris Plunkett, Allison Maria Rodriguez, and Melissa Shaak.

Learn more about the exhibit

  • Location: City Hall Mezzanine, Lobby Steps
  • Dates: June 1-30, 2022

The 45,000 Quilt Project is a beautiful work of art that brings together the efforts of over 60 immigrant justice activists and artists from across the United States, as well as one artist from Mexico. Its purpose is to show the extent of immigrant detention in our country and work toward more humane solutions.

Quilts being displayed as part of the 45,000 Quilt Project

The quilt is the brainchild of Glen Ring, a New Hampshire activist who has personally witnessed the results of US immigration policy: inhumane treatment of immigrants at our border and immigrant children kept in for-profit detention centers. She was working to help asylum-seekers detained in NH in 2019 when she discovered that there were roughly 45,000 such immigrants and asylum-seekers imprisoned across our country in small county jails and large for-profit prisons. Inspired by the power of the AIDS quilt, Glen put together a small group of fellow activists and together they devised a plan for the quilt.

Artists and quilters were invited to submit one yard square panels, each representing 1000 of the detained immigrants. 45 such panels, along with information panels and smaller works of art, were then assembled by the team to create six large quilts. Together the six quilts measure 9 feet by 54 feet. Some panels were quilted, some painted or stamped. Artists and amateurs alike contributed. One panel was created by a group of children.

  • Location: The Mayor's Gallery, 5th Floor Boston City Hall
  • Dates: June 1 - July 15, 2022

Wen-ti Tsen paintings

Artist Statement

I first met Farid Haddad about one week after I arrived in Beirut, Lebanon, to start a three-year position as an art
teacher, almost 50 years ago. It was at the international school’s welcoming party. Farid was a rising artist about
town, a recent graduate of the Art Department of the American University of Beirut (AUB). I had never been to
Lebanon before that, I happily took in his pointers on the art world of Beirut. Several weeks later, when, following his
advice, my wife and I went to a downtown art store to get supplies, we met again. He introduced us to the owner; we
sat and sipped coffee. He drove us home, and we fed him lunch. After that, we saw each other regularly, but not
frequently: as he was single, moved about, and kept different hours. Later, in the spring, he arranged, with another
friend, for three of us to have a joint exhibition.

It was in that spring, as we were sitting around the friend’s living room, that Farid popped in (in Beirut, at that time,
we did not use telephones – it was before cells, and landlines were uncertain – when we visited, we took our chances
and knocked on doors) and announced: “I met her, the woman of my life!” We, too, met her soon afterwards. She
was Sylva Boyadjian, a French-speaking, Armenian-Lebanese freshman at AUB. Her father was a famous Armenian
writer, her mother, a schoolteacher. Her family moved to Beirut from Antioch, following the 1915 massacres of the
Armenians in Turkey. They were together for the rest of our time in Beirut. Farid got a studio space across the street
from our house. We became neighbors, and saw each other more often. \

We left a peaceful and thriving Beirut in 1972 – full of live-theaters, fashionable boutiques, cafés and intellectual
discussions in three or four interchangeable common languages – but there was always an undercurrent of potential
political strife. In 1975, a vicious, political-religious, civil war erupted that was to last for the next fifteen years. Farid
and Sylva were married in 1974, but soon life in Beirut, in the war zone, became intolerable. In late fall 1975, they left
for the U.S. to go to graduate schools: he for an M.F.A., she on a graduate program in literature.

We followed events from a distance, but were not much in contact. Then, after Farid’s graduation, he found a
teaching post in a college in New Hampshire, and settled to live close by, in Concord NH. For many years, they were
professors. Farid continues to paint and draw. Sylva is a published poet. Through thirty-some years, with our
proximity, and some shared and understood history, we got to be very good friends. We watched their daughter,
Severina, grow from a toddler to a PhD; saw Mme. Boyadjian, Sylva’s mother, moved in to live with them, and, Farid’s
family – father, mother (both now deceased) and two sisters, Nuha and Nada – came to settle nearby. Our families
became like each other’s families. We often spend holidays together.

It was at one of those parties, a post-Christmas dinner at our house – it was getting late, we were all feeling well-fed
and mellow, and the conversations were congenial – that I asked, why don’t you spend the night. All three, Farid,
Sylva and Severina, said simultaneously: “Oh no, we can’t! Duke is waiting for us at home!” Duke was their black
Labrador, named after John Wayne. I thought of Beirut, and of Hamra, the high-style street where Farid and Sylva
seemed so customarily at home. I thought of Concord NH, and of the different paths of cultural distinction that we
navigate in our lives. I started the first painting soon after, to try to sort it out: possibly with Duke as the seeing guide.

The completed 6 paintings depict narrowly only those aspects of what I saw as Farid’s and Sylva’s “American” lives,
and avoid showing any of their professional accomplishments. In that sense, I am very grateful to them for
collaborating with me to let me borrow them as personages to sound out my own feelings: of what is being an
American, and of what is living in general.

  • Location: The Mayor's Neighborhood Gallery, 2nd Floor Boston City Hall
  • Dates: June 1 - July 15, 2022

States of Memory is a teen-curated collection of photography made during the Spring of 2022 by ICA Teens participating in the Special Focus and Photo Collective workshops. As a product of living in this moment, we are all surrounded by instances and experiences that may become solidified as memories. While we navigate through our daily lives, we are uncertain which of these instances will remain, this is why we exist in these states of memory.

Seagull on a gate photo as part of ICA Teens exhibit

As poet David Whyte puts it: “Memory is an invitation to the source of our life, to a fuller participation in the now, to a future about to happen, but ultimately to a frontier identity that holds them all at once. Memory makes the now fully inhabitable.” Teen arts education is central to the ICA, and the Digital Photography program is just one of many teen arts programs offered at the museum. The ICA’s award-winning teen program serves thousands of area youths annually. We believe that robust arts education—including learning by doing—is critical to building future artists, audiences, and engaged citizens, and we aim especially to create a more equitable education for urban youths.

Please visit the ICA Teens website to learn more about these programs and to view additional images by these photographers.

  • Location: The Mayor's Display Case, 5th Floor Boston City Hall
  • Dates: May 2 - June 30, 2022

The USGA will be hosting the U.S. Open, a major golf championship, at The Country Club in Brookline in June of 2022. Twenty-year old Francis Ouimet won this championship in 1913. Ouimet’s victory over the era’s greatest golfers at the 1913 U.S. Open inspired a new class of people to take up the game and remains one of the greatest underdog stories in sports history. Ouimet became a champion for the working class and popularized the game in America. This was actually the first golf story to be featured on the front page of the New York Times. Disney also created a movie about this story – The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Brookline Country Club logo

This exhibit includes objects and library materials that tell the story of the growth of golf in the Boston area at the turn of the 20th century. The items provide historical context for Ouimet’s victory, with diverse stories of leadership, innovation, and service related to early golf in Boston, including:

  • George Grant and the invention of the modern golf tee
  • Franklin Park and the rise of public golf
  • The Curtis sisters: Public servants and champion golfers

The Mayor's Poetry Program is an annual program in which Boston residents are invited to submit poems to be displayed throughout City Hall and in an online gallery for one year. Our Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola selected 15 poems in 2022.

Read the 2022 Poems

Poem Locations
First Floor South Elevators
  • "Banshee of Woodbourne" by Michael Robert Ball
  • "Time-Jumpin' " by Emma Lagno
Second Floor South Elevators
  • "Moroccan Statue" by Alia Hamada Forrest
  • "Miracles and Angels" by Senora T. Epps
Third Floor South Elevators
  • "What If..." by Henrietta Hodge
  • "Kid Mountain" by Gail Bello
Fifth Floor South Elevators
  • "My Mama's Back" by Cynthia Yee
Sixth Floor South Elevators
  • "2020: Where You Have Lived" by Carla Schwartz
  • "A Lovely Swarm on Wheels" by Whitney Burge
Seventh Floor South Elevators
  • "Odds" by Whitney Burdge
  • "Grandpa Prays" by Timothy Hall
Eighth Floor South Elevators
  • "Certain and Impossible" by Harry Yu
  • "Rebel Round Delay" by Sarah Awan
Ninth Floor South Elevators
  • "Ivy Hanged" by Alia Hamada Forrest
  • "The Weight of Light" by Sarah Deckro

Artist Sophia Ainslie brightened up the eighth floor of City Hall with a new mural this past summer. As an extension of her project, she documented the reactions of City employees who walked by, and took photos of them with the mural.

Photo from Sophia Ainslie's mural exhibit

Gallery locations

Mayor's Art Gallery

The Mayor's Gallery exhibits work by Boston area artists who have received recognition for their artwork through grants, awards and other types of public display.

Directions: It's located on the 5th floor of City Hall. From City Hall Plaza or Congress St. entrances, take South Elevators to the 5th floor, follow signs to Mayor's Office: signage marks the gallery entrance. If you are planning to attend an opening you must enter from Congress Street.

Mayor’s Neighborhood Gallery

Directions: Located on the 2nd floor near the South Elevators. From City Hall Plaza or Congress St. entrances, take South Elevators to the 2nd floor.

Scollay Square Gallery

The Scollay Square Gallery showcases the many arts organizations and artists community groups that support local artists throughout the City.

Directions: It's located on the 3rd floor/main lobby of City Hall. When entering from Congress St, take elevators to 3rd floor, proceed through lobby, passing the information desk on your right. The gallery is ahead of you. When entering from City Hall Plaza, proceed through lobby, passing the information desk on your right. The gallery is ahead of you. Signage marks the gallery entrance. If you are planning to attend an opening you must enter from Congress Street.

The Emerging Gallery

This is the newest of City Hall's galleries. It showcases Boston's up and coming artists.

Directions: It is located on the 8th floor of City Hall. When entering from Congress Street or Cambridge Street, take the elevators to the 8th floor. The gallery is in the hallway to the left of Room 801, which is perpendicular to the elevators. 

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