Founded in 1991, Artists For Humanity's mission is to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing under-resourced youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts.
At the heart of Artists for Humanity is the belief that skills equal power and opportunity. AFH has four goals, which provide urban teens with:
While the goals remain stable, methods of reaching them are constantly evolving. AFH reaches into every niche of the city to ensure fresh input, new projects and media, and a unique outlook.
For twenty years, AFH has been empowering and employing Boston teens in a uniquely intensive program of arts, creativity and enterprise. AFH partners youth in small groups with professional artists/designers to design, create, market and sell art products. Youth gain hands-on experience in:
Youth and mentors collaborate on creative projects, many specifically commissioned by clients. In the process, young artists develop entrepreneurial skills, and introduce audiences to the voice, vision and virtuosity of today's youth. Artists For Humanity has produced fine art and creative products for most of Boston's largest firms and organizations, and -- despite the challenging economy -- earned over $800,000 in sales last year.
The AFH model has received national recognition and has been studied extensively as an exemplar of effective mentorship, youth empowerment and social entrepreneurship. Their model has been disseminated internationally to organizations that utilize their framework of respect, relationships, and responsibility to empower young people in their communities.
In 2004, AFH completed its headquarters, the Platinum LEED Certified Artists For Humanity EpiCenter. Built to the highest levels of sustainability of the U.S. Green Building Council, it serves to inform its youth of issues of environmental stewardship, and serves as an inspiration and backdrop for their creativity. Named one of the "Top Ten Green Buildings" in the country, and one of the "5 Most Beautiful Buildings in Boston" it provides a fitting venue for perhaps the largest permanent display of youth-created fine art in the nation.