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Artists for Humanity

  • Artists for Humanity
  • 100 West Second St.
  • Boston, MA 02127
  • 617-268-7620
  • 1990

Program Description

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:

  • A safe meaningful place where they are respected for their contributions and develop mentoring relationships so important to teens
  • An opportunity to have a voice through exhibitions, commercial services, and public presentations
  • The respect and responsibility of paid employment that promotes self-esteem and financial accountability. At AFH, young people learn entrepreneurship and get paid for their own creative production
  • Access to educational experiences and support that encourage academic achievement

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:

  • Digital Media/Video
  • Graphic Design/Motion Graphics
  • Painting/Murals
  • Photography/Web Design
  • Screen Printing
  • Sculpture/Industrial Design/3D Design
  • Web Design

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.

Services Provided

  • Academic enrichment/tutoring/study skills
  • Arts and cultural
  • College admissions guidance and counseling
  • College transition and retention support
  • Financial aid advising/FAFSA completion
  • Leadership development
  • Mentoring
  • Other
  • Scholarships and last-dollar grants
  • Science, tech, engineering, & math (STEM)


Education Level and
Number of Students

  • High School: 274
  • Middle School: 0
  • Elementary School: 0
  • Post-secondary: 0
  • Non-traditional: 0

Populations Served

  • Academically At-risk
  • Academically High-performing
  • ESL Students


  • More than 75%

Colleges Attended
by Alumni

  • Amherst College (2)
  • Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (5)
  • Boston University (15)
  • Bridgewater State University (10)
  • Bucknell University (1)
  • Emmanuel College (2)
  • Framingham State University (5)
  • Georgetown University (1)
  • Hamilton College (1)
  • Hampshire College (3)
  • Lesley University (25)
  • Maine College of Art (5)
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design (50)
  • Montserrat College of Art (10)
  • Northeastern University (30)
  • Rhode Island School of Design (5)
  • Salem State University (5)
  • Simmons University (2)
  • Suffolk University (10)
  • Tufts University (10)
  • University of Massachusetts-Amherst (15)
  • University of Massachusetts-Boston (100)
  • University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (30)
  • University of Massachusetts-Lowell (10)
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology (10)

Matriculation & Completion

  • 4-yr College Matriculation: 95%