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Building Our Future Campaign: Named Spaces

On December 14, 2022, the Boston School Committee voted to accept and advance our Building Our Future campaign and proposed legacy and philanthropic named spaces in the new Boston Arts Academy building, including our proposal to name the Boston Arts Academy building after the late and great Dr. Elma I. Lewis!

Dr. Elma I. Lewis Graphic

This is a historic moment for Boston's only public high school for the arts. We are honored that the Boston School Committee accepted our transformative slate of named spaces, including the naming of the building.

The Building Our Future campaign began in 2017, with the goal to raise $32M to augment the Boston Arts Academy school budget and to ensure long-term financial sustainability for BAA.

Learn more about the Comprehensive Campaign
Who Is Boston Arts Academy Foundation?

The Boston Arts Academy Foundation (BAAF) is an independent 501(c)3 charitable non-profit organization established in 1999 to support the mission of the school, Boston Arts Academy (BAA).  BAAF is the fundraising organization whose proceeds cover the school’s expense and its own.

BAA was founded through a public-private partnership with the City of Boston relative to funding: Unlike many public high schools in the city, BAA was founded with a foundation to “bridge the gap” between the school’s allocation from Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the actual cost of a high-quality education that is both arts-intensive and college preparatory. 

Throughout the campaign, Boston Arts Academy Foundation received tremendous support from the community.

We are proud to announce the following approved named spaces:

The Dr. Elma I. Lewis Building

Named Space: Boston Arts Academy Building

Dr. Elma I. Lewis devoted a lifetime to bringing culture into the lives of Boston’s African American community. She founded the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts – offering a robust program to Boston’s African American community in art, drama, music, dance, and costume design. Additionally, Dr. Lewis is the founder of the National Center of Afro-American Artists. She is a graduate of Emerson College and Boston University. Dr. Lewis is one of the first recipients of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her dedicated work in the arts and has also received the Presidential Medal for the Arts from President Ronald Regan.

The Boston Arts Academy Foundation Endowed Fund for Full Inclusion in Honor of BAA and Dr. Anne Rogers Clark

Named Space: Head of School Suite

Learn more about Dr. Clark:

M. Lee Pelton Board Room

Named Space: Main Conference Room

Dr. Lee Pelton is the CEO & President of The Boston Foundation, one of the nation’s leading philanthropic organizations, with $1.6 billion in assets. He joined The Boston Foundation in June 2021 after serving as President of Emerson College (2011-2021) and Willamette University (1998-2011).

Dr. Pelton was a uniquely transformative leader for Boston Arts Academy and Boston Arts Academy Foundation. He is also the only person to serve as Chairman of the Boston Arts Academy Board of Trustees (2015-2018) and Chairman of the BAA Foundation Board of Directors (2018-2021). Dr. Pelton is the Chairman Emeritus at Boston Arts Academy Foundation. During his leadership, he significantly improved the partnership between the school and Foundation, strengthened the Foundation’s impact through its leadership, and launched the Foundation’s six-year, $32 million Building Our Future Campaign to augment the school’s budget and build long-term financial sustainability.

Following the tragic events of George Floyd, Dr. Pelton wrote an open letter to the community entitled “America is on Fire,” which trended and was retweeted by prominent public figures such as Mark Cuban.

The Lewis Family Fitness Center

Named Space: Fitness Center

Donna M. Harris-Lewis is the widow of the late Dr. Reginald “Reggie” Lewis, Sr. – Boston Celtics Captain and NBA All-star – and the mother of their two beautiful children, Reggie, Jr. and Reggiena.  She is a graduate of Northeastern University's School of Business in Boston, Massachusetts, and working toward a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at the Southern University of New Hampshire. Her professional career has encompassed the fields of philanthropy, human resources management, and education.

Most do not know academics was more important to Reggie, Sr. than athletics. He often told youth that it is great to pursue an NBA career, but you have a better chance of becoming a teacher, lawyer, or doctor. NBA careers are short, so if you make it to the NBA, your education will help you in the next phase of your life.

He was eligible for the NBA draft in 1987 after completing four years at Northeastern University. After executing his contract, one would think he could rest on his laurels. He went to school every summer from 1990 to complete his undergraduate in criminal justice. He was slated to graduate in 1994. President Richard Freeland asked Donna Harris-Lewis to be the June 1994 commencement speaker (see links below as proof) and wanted to present her with an honorary doctorate in humanities. She requested that the school posthumously give the degree to Reggie, Sr. as he was more than an athlete. Donna and Reggie’s love for the arts and academics is equal.

Sandra and Philip Gordon Gallery

Named Space: Professional Art Gallery

In 2000, the Sandra and Philip Gordon Gallery was opened and named after Sandra Gordon, Founding President of Boston Arts Academy Foundation, and her husband Philip Gordon, a long-time supporter of Boston Arts Academy.

During her ten years of leadership, the Foundation raised more than $10 million to support faculty, programming, art supplies, and production costs.

Boston Red Sox Foundation Terrace

Named Space: Terrace

The Boston Red Sox Foundation pledged a significant contribution to the campaign that includes a partnership that enables access to mentorship, discounted and prioritized tickets to games and performances for BAA staff and faculty, internships, and paid jobs specifically tailored to qualified BAA students, and more.

Ruth E. Carter: Fashion Technology Construction Lab

Named Space: Fashion Technology Construction Lab

Ruth E. Carter was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. A Hampton University graduate, Carter began her career as a costume apprentice for the Santa Fe Opera. She moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1980s and began her collaborative relationship with legendary director Spike Lee. Since then, Carter has worked with Steven Spielberg and Ryan Coogler and has dressed thousands of actors, including Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Jane Fonda, and Oprah Winfrey.

In 2019, Carter became the first African American to win an Academy Award in the Best Costume Design category for Black Panther. Her costumes tell stories so intriguing and memorable that they influence music, fashion, culture, and filmmaking and help us to understand ourselves and our history better. Ruth was the commencement speaker for BAA in 2021 and was awarded the 2021 BAA Honors Award for Fashion Design. Ruth currently serves as a member of the BAAF Board of Directors.

Avid Technology: Recording Studio

Named Space: Recording Studio

Under BAAF Board Chairman Jeff Rosica’s leadership, significant contributions made from Avid Technology help ensure that BAA “captures the benefits of a state-of-the-art environment for teaching and helps the students excel in their exploration of music creation, video production, and enthralling live performance. Avid also plans to provide “in-kind” technology contributions which assist aspiring young filmmakers, music creators, and theater students on their path to proficiency with industry-standard production solutions such as Media Composer ©, Pro Tools©, Avid NEXIS© shared media storage, Avid S1 and S4 mixing control surfaces, as well as a Venue© S6L live sound console."

Amy and Joshua Boger/The Boger Family Foundation: 3D Studio, Photography Studio

Named Spaces: 3D Studio, Photography Studio

In December 2019, Amy and Josh Boger pledged support to BAA Foundation’s Building Our Future Campaign and the school’s photography and 3D art programs.

They hope that their gift catalyzes other donors to invest in this unique institution. In 2019, twenty of BAA’s Visual Arts students were invited to the studio of Amy and Josh – both artists – to view their underwater photography and ceramics exhibit.

Amy and Josh, parents of three children and artists themselves. They want future generations of BAA students to have every opportunity to pursue their artistic passions.

Eve and Jon Rounds: Dance Studio 1

Named Space: Dance Studio 1

Eve and Jon Rounds have been supporters of BAA for over a decade. A former dancer with the New York City Ballet, Eve is a dance advocate and champion of the arts. Eve has served on the BAA Board of Trustees, and she was the inaugural Chair of BAAF’s Board of Directors. In 2021, she was recognized as the Dance Honoree for BAA Honors. 

Jerry Wheelock and Elizabeth Wood: Scene Shop

Named Space: Scene Shop

Jerry Wheelock and Elizabeth Wood are long-time generous donors to BAA and for many years have helped keep the “arts” in Boston Arts Academy. They are also proud parents of BAA alum, Artemis Wheelock, a Theatre Major who graduated with the class of 2020. Mr. Wheelock was a former member of BAAF’s Board of Directors and was integral to many campaign successes during his tenure.

Martin Richard Foundation: Classroom

Named Space: Classroom

The Martin Richard Foundation works to advance the values of inclusion, kindness, justice, and peace. They invest in community programs that broaden horizons for young people and encourage them to celebrate diversity and engage in positive civic action. The Foundation gifted a significant contribution to the Full Inclusion Fund and has been a steadfast supporter of BAA since 2018.

Mary and Bob Lentz: Career Center

Named Space: Career Center

Mary and Bob Lentz have been generous supporters of BAA for over two decades. Mary is a former member of the BAA Board of Trustees. She graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science degree, specializing in Accounting and Computer Science. From there, she went on to earn her Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently, Mary serves as an Executive Vice President and Partner of McCall & Almy.

Ashley and Paul Colleary In Memory of Palma Calaluca Webb: Work/Kiln Room

Named Space: Work/Kiln Room

Ashley Webb Colleary and Paul Colleary have been generous supporters of BAA for many years. Ashley currently serves on BAAF’s Board of Directors and is Chair of the Marketing Committee and the BAA Honors Auction Committee. She is Assistant to the Executive Director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation.

The Kiln Room will be named in memory of Ashley’s mother, Palma Calaluca Webb.

Rockland Trust-Blue Hills Charitable Foundation: Pin-Up Gallery

Named Space: Pin-up Gallery

Chris Oddleifson, CEO of Rockland Trust, and his wife, Nancy, are generous donors to and supporters of BAA. Together, they serve as members of the Building Our Future Campaign Cabinet, advocating for BAA Foundation's mission. Rockland Trust is the current manager for BAAF’s Investment Portfolio.

The Theatre Alumni Honors Studio

Named Space: Theatre Studio/Room 212

The BAA students chose this name to honor distinguished alumni.

The Theatre Teacher Emeritus Studio

Named Space: Theatre Studio/Room 216

The BAA students chose this name to honor distinguished teachers.

The Andrea Herbert Major Dance Studio

Named Space: Dance Studio/Room 305

Andrea Herbert Major, Owner and Artistic Director of Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts, is well known throughout Massachusetts and beyond as an accomplished dancer, choreographer, and teacher.

The Dance Teacher Emeritus Studio

Named Space: Dance Studio/Room 309

The BAA students chose this name to honor distinguished teachers.

The Dance Alumni Honors Studio

Named Space: Dance Studio/Room 308

The BAA students chose this name to honor distinguished alumni.

The Visual Art and Design Teacher Emeritus Studio

Named Space: Styling/Design Room/Room 408

The BAA students chose this name to honor distinguished teachers.

The Visual Art and Design Alumni Honors Studio

Named Space: Exhibition Studio/Room 409

The BAA students chose this name to honor alumni.

The Dana McLean Greeley Room

Named Space: Health and Wellness Intern Work Space/Room 418-G

Dana McLean Greeley was a founding supporter of BAA and a peace and justice organizer.

The Curtis Warner Ensemble Room

Named Space: Large Ensemble Room/Room 509

J. Curtis Warner, Jr. was a primary force in the creation of BAA and served on the BAA Board of Trustees for over a decade. He is known as the architect of the Berklee City Music program, where he was Executive Director.

Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree from Berklee and a master’s degree in education administration from Cambridge College. He recently retired from his role as Associate Vice President of Community and Government Relations at Berklee.  

The Music Alumni Honors Ensemble Room

Named Space: Small Ensemble Room/Room 519

The BAA students chose this name to honor alumni.

The Juan and Donna Fabish Tapia Choral Room

Named Space: Choral Room/Room 521

Juan Tapia and Donna Fabish were founding parents of BAA.

In addition to these named spaces, BAA Foundation will also be fulfilling the naming of theatre seats, benches and gathering stairs within the new school building.

Throughout BAA's 25th Anniversary year, we look forward to sharing more with the community on the importance of these named spaces, and their connection and dedication to Boston Arts Academy, public arts education, and Boston's youth.

Stay tuned for more information on ribbon cutting ceremonies.

Interested in supporting the Building Our Future campaign? Learn more about naming opportunities:


Take A Seat

Become a permanent part of BAA's history by taking a seat in our new theatre.

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rendering of the gathering stairs in the new BAA school building

Make A Mark

Support Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts by naming a special space!

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Boston Arts Academy Foundation

Talent is evenly distributed in society, but not opportunity. Help us change that reality in Boston.

Make a 100% tax-deductible donation to support Boston students. Contact us at (617) 763-1151.

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Make checks payable to Boston Arts Academy Foundation

126 Brookline Ave. 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02215