Boston Public Schools name new Boston Arts Academy building art educator, local pioneer Dr. Elma Lewis

BOSTON (WHDH) – Boston officials gathered Wednesday to officially name a new building for the Boston Arts Academy after art educator and local pioneer Dr. Elma Lewis. 

The event marked the official opening of the school’s new building and served to honor Lewis’ legacy. 

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu was in attendance at the school, speaking about Lewis and the effect she had on young artists. 

“Dr. Lewis was adamant about ensuring that young Black artists had the same opportunities to not only hone their skills and expand their repertoire, but to share those gifts with the world and to be celebrated for them,” Wu said. 

The Boston Arts Academy was founded 25 years ago. In a statement, the Boston Public Schools said the school’s new building includes renovated technology for dance, fashion and fine art studios in addition to theaters, rehearsal spaces and a STEAM lab.

Lewis won hundreds of art awards and received nearly 30 honorary degrees over her career, including two MacArthur Genius Fellow Grants and a Presidential Medal of the Arts. She passed away in 2004.

“Dr. Lewis was a pillar of the arts community here in Boston,” said Boston Public Schools Superintendent Mary Skipper in the BPS statement announcing this week’s renaming. “This building carries more than a name. It’s a legacy of grace, grit, and joy.” 

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