Amanda Shea, Des Bennet, Amir Dixon, Dzidzor & crystal bi

Free Day: Juneteenth 2024

Free Admission Generously Supported by Linda Cabot and Ed Anderson

Wednesday, June 19, 2024
11 am - 5 pm

Honor the legacy of queer futures, histories, leadership, and stories with art-making, film screenings, impactful conversation, rest and art! Artists and thought leaders will share reflections on themes of social justice, equity, art, and empowerment, and invite participation in activities throughout the day. The Gardner will honor Juneteenth, the oldest nationally recognized commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, with a free day of performances, conversations, and activities that celebrate community and freedom with Boston-based Black artists and leaders. Programs this year honor intersections with queer liberation and queer futures, co-curated by the Gardner’s Community Partner, The Theater Offensive.

Bring your family and dive deep into the many ways you can show up for your communities as you engage in the many different activities led by educators, organizers, and cultural leaders dedicated to building a better future for all. We welcome you to learn more about these stories through activities with The Theater Offensive, art-making with Queer Republic's Program Manager Des Bennett, encouraged rest with artists Dzidzor & crystal bi, and film screening of BLACK. Narratives in Boston’s Black Queer and Trans History with conversation moderated by The Theatre Offensive’s Executive Director Giselle Byrd in conversation with film’s Executive Producer Amanda Shea & director Amir Dixon.

Queering the Museum: Parts/Perspectives/Me by the Courtyard
Courtyard | 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM & 2:15 - 3:15 PM 

A three stop tour! Join a public tour led by Museum Educator Boy Nirvana that takes a closer look at how we can use history and art to challenge dominant narratives in museums. Space is limited and first-come, first-served.

Resting Space
Jordan Garden | 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, pulses with life every June 19th, a day etched in the memory of freedom, celebrating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. It is a sacred act of remembering, a ritual to honor the ancestors, to bear witness to their sacrifices, and to uplift the legacy and brilliance of Black existence in this land. The celebration includes parades, picnics, musical expressions, historical reenactments, and gatherings of learning and reflection, weaving together community threads, unity, and a profound, abiding pride. In honor of Juneteenth, we invite everyone to remember, celebrate and rest.  The Rest Activation is a sacred space for stillness and slowness. We invite you to contribute to a container for remembrance and rest. 

We invite you to rest as a practice to memorialize those who offered us hope for the future and the day when we renew our commitment to the struggle for freedom, in the words of Angela Davis.  

It is curated by Dzidzor Azaglo and crystal bi as part of the Department of Public Imagination, a series of public art project.  

BLACK. Narratives in Boston Black Queer and Trans History: Film Screening
Calderwood Hall
Doors open at 1:00 PM | Remarks begin 1:30 PM,  Film begins | 2 PM 
Conversation with Q&A  | 3 PM

Join us for a very special screening of BLACK. Narratives in Boston Black Queer and Trans History, a film that explores how for far too long, there has been an absence of space for documenting and amplifying the stories, perspectives, and struggles of Bostonians of Color who continue to reside, build, and thrive here. Following the screening, stay to learn more about the film’s themes of ballroom, gender identity, freedom, history, and community, in a talkback with film’s director Amir Dixon with opening remarks by Executive Producer Amanda Shea with invited guest panelists. This conversation will be moderated by the Theatre Offensive’s Executive Director Giselle Byrd. 

Stitching Queer Futures with Des Bennett
Bertucci Education Studio | 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

In honor of the AID’s Quilt, we’ll hold a community quilt-making event and co-create a Queer Futures quilt, celebrating the radical and transformative resilience of the queer community, and imagine into existence our liberated future. Folks will be invited to create their own unique quilt block using fabric markers to be part of the Radical Queer Futures community quilt. Materials will be provided.

About the Artists


Questions about accessibility? Please call the box office at 617 278 5156

Advance registration is encouraged for free timed entry tickets for Museum general admission. 

Registration opens two weeks before the event for the general public and four weeks in advance for members. Reserve your tickets online by clicking the button above. 

Limited tickets may be available in-person at the Museum’s main entrance the day of the event. Please note that day-of tickets are not guaranteed.


Header image credit - Ally Schmaling

 Free admission is generously supported by Linda Cabot and Ed Anderson.  

Free days are supported in part by the Wallace Minot Leonard Foundation, Thomas G. Stemberg Charitable Foundation, and Liberty Mutual Foundation. 

Education and community programs receive support from the Vertex Foundation, Rowland Foundation, the Yawkey Foundation, The Beker Foundation, Liberty Mutual Foundation, The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation, Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation, and Janet Burke Mann Foundation.

Studio activities are generously sponsored by the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust. The Neighborhood Salon is supported in part by the Anne Hawley Fund for Programs, the Barr Foundation ArtsAmplified Initiative, and the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust. 

The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.