Or­ange is the New Black’s Dianne Guer­rero hon­ors her past and fu­ture with the Bos­ton Arts Academy.


One day af­ter school, Dianne

Guer­rero re­turned home to Ja­maica Plain to an empty house. Her par­ents had been de­ported to Colom­bia. The 14-year-old was trau­ma­tized. When she re­turned to school at the Bos­ton Arts Academy, the teach­ers and stu­dents took on a life-chang­ing role for her. “I got a sense of com­mu­nity at the Academy,” says Guer­rero. “They took care of me.” Guer­rero, who now stars on Or­ange is the New Black and Jane the Vir­gin, cred­its much of her act­ing suc­cess to the sup­port and skills she learned at the academy. “It was a huge way to learn where I came from and why I was liv­ing some of the ex­pe­ri­ences I was liv­ing.”

On May 23, the Bos­ton Arts Academy will un­veil its first gala at the Mu­seum of Fine Arts called the Apollo Din­ner Cabaret. Guer­rero, who re­cently pub­lished her mem­oir, In the Coun­try We Love: My Fam­ily Di­vided, will be hon­ored with the 2017 Apollo Award. Head­mas­ter Anne Clark says Guer­rero en­com­passed every­thing she wants her stu­dents to take away from BAA, “Diane had a clear sense of jus­tice. A true artist has a pur­pose, a vi­sion for self and com­mu­nity.”

The Gala has a pur­pose, too. “Its fo­cus is on fes­tiv­ity and fun, and to show­case the stu­dents’ tal­ents,” says Academy di­rec­tor Dun­can RemageHealey. The academy’s ris­ing stars will per­form through­out the evening of mu­sic, move­ment, and din­ner. For Guer­rero, the evening will be an es­pe­cially bit­ter­sweet re­u­nion. “The school taught me to fight with my art. I learned how to be my­self.” 174 Ip­swich St., 617-635-6470; tickets: bostonart­­tured/ apollo-din­ner-cabaret-may

Bos­ton Arts Academy dance stu­dent Tianna per­forms a se­nior main stage pro­duc­tion.

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