New Art Center’s Drag Queen Story Hour disrupted with bomb threat

The New Art Center was recently hit with a bomb threat, and the center’s director thinks a drag queen event was what triggered it.

New Art Center Executive Director Emily O’Neil has published a statement about the June 9 incident.

At just after 10 a.m., O’Neil writes, the center—located at 61 Washington Park—received a threat claiming that bombs were placed on the roof and set to detonate at 11 a.m.

This was the first bomb threat in the New Art Center’s 47-year history, O’Neil notes in the statement.

“Although the threat did not specifically reference our free, public Drag Queen Story Hour event that was at 11 AM, we believe that was the catalyst,” O’Neil’s statement continues. “The threat was immediately reported to the Newton Police Department. Our facility was searched and cleared by the Newton Police Department and the Newton Fire Department.”

The drag queen scheduled for that event, Missy Steak, stuck around while police made sure the building was safe. Many families stayed as well, and the show went on.

“You cannot kill me in any way that matters,” Missy Steak posted on X (formerly Twitter) later that day, referencing the bomb threat.

New Art Center launched its Cultural Access Program—which includes Drag Queen Story Hour—in 2020 to address social and community-based issues through art.

“At our core, we believe art plays a vital role in building a thriving, inclusive, and innovative community, and we state unequivocally that hate has no home at New Art,” O’Neil continues.