Boston Arts Academy Foundation’s Champion Reception in March

 Special to the Sun

 The Boston Arts Academy Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization that raises essential funds to augment the Boston Arts Academy budget, has announced that Hector Piña and Dr. Aisha Miller will be honored with the prestigious Champion Award at the 2024 Boston Arts Academy Foundation Champion Reception on March 21. The event will take place at the iconic House of Blues in Fenway on Lansdowne Street and will be followed by the opening night of the all-student-led performance of Simply The Best! The Life and Legacy of Tina Turner as told through song and dance. This year’s event will be chaired by Dylan Leavitt, founder of Studio Dylan.

The Champion Reception is one of several annual Boston Arts Academy Foundation events that raise critical funds for Boston Arts Academy. The money raised helps provide arts programming and life-changing opportunities for students that would be otherwise unavailable to them. Each year, the Champion Award is presented to members of the community who embody the school’s commitment to the arts, scholarship, and citizenship. Previous BAAF Champion Award honorees include Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, former First Lady of Massachusetts Diane Patrick, former Boston Mayors, Kim Janey and Martin J. Walsh, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey, and former Governor Charlie Baker. 

“We are thrilled to recognize two exemplary civic leaders who have worked tirelessly to impact the residents of the City of Boston,” said Boston Arts Academy Foundation President and CEO Denella J. Clark. “Hector and Aisha represent our students in so many ways, and truly are servant leaders. Their passion and love for young people, education, and the arts are what our Champions award hopes to recognize.”

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Hector Piña is the CEO and President of Tres Islas Group Corporation and a community leader known for revolutionizing Boston’s culinary scene. Hector and his wife, Nivia Piña, have launched several acclaimed eateries including Merengue, Vejigantes, Doña Habana, and Cilantro Latin Kitchen, earning national recognition for their Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban cuisines. Committed to community involvement, Hector actively serves on Boston Arts Academy Foundation’s Board of Directors and has received numerous awards for his leadership and impact on Boston’s Latino community.

Dr. Aisha Miller is currently the Vice President of Permitting, Community, and Corporate Engagement at Related Beal. Dr. Miller has a diverse professional background, including serving as Boston’s Chief of Civic Engagement and holding positions in the Boston Inspectional Services Department. In addition, she has worked as a Suffolk County Probation Officer, was the Regional Steward for Suffolk County Probation Officers, and has served as an aide to political figures. Dr. Miller has received numerous leadership and community service awards, most recently the 2023 Girls’ LEAP Empowerment Champion Award.

Event Chair Dylan Leavitt is a member of the Boston Arts Academy Foundation’s Advisory Council. Leavitt is passionate about building community through education, arts, and culture. Leavitt founded Studio Dylan, a boutique production company, in 2018, and has served as a producer for PBS national television programs including “Antiques Roadshow” and “Lidia Celebrates America.” She has also curated films at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Telluride Film Festival.

“We are grateful to be working with Dylan on our Champions Reception,” said Clark. “Dylan is a fresh, young creative force, and we are excited to be partnering with her on this event.”

After the reception, guests are invited to enjoy the opening night of Simply The Best! The Life and Legacy of Tina Turner, an entirely student-run production that will feature work and appearances from all five core arts majors at Boston Arts Academy. The show was chosen by the students because of its themes of female empowerment and resilience. 

Tickets to the Champion Reception and opening night of Simply The Best! are available for $125, while a ticket for all other performances is $25. Proceeds from the event will directly support BAA’s arts programming. For more information about sponsorships and to purchase tickets for all performances of Simply The Best!, visit 

Boston Arts Academy Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 1999 to raise essential funds for Boston Arts Academy, the city’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Each year Boston Arts Academy Foundation must bridge the gap between the school’s allocation from Boston Public Schools and the true cost of a high-quality education that is both arts-intensive and college preparatory. Support from foundations, corporations, and individual donors is crucial to the school’s ability to offer a comprehensive arts and academic education.

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