Artists For Humanity (AFH) provides under-resourced teens the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. AFH is built on the philosophy that engagement in the creative process is a powerful force for social change, and that creative entrepreneurship is a productive and life-changing opportunity for young people. Bridging economic, racial, and social divisions, AFH enriches urban communities by introducing young people's creativity to the business community.
Throughout our history, AFH has taken a series of deliberate steps to more effectively achieve our mission and increase economic sustainability. Chief among these was constructing the EpiCenter in 2004 to provide AFH with a permanent home; ours became the first building in Boston to achieve Platinum LEED certification. In October 2018, to meet demand for teen jobs and youth created art and design, AFH opened our expanded 53,000 sq.ft. facility. Opening our larger and better-equipped facility is the foundation of a strategic plan to increase youth employment and studio production, enrich youth experience, deepen community engagement, and enhance organizational sustainability through increasing earned revenues.
Today, AFH remains a haven for teens from every corner of the city, a place where they can explore and express their creative abilities, identify possibilities for continuing education, and most importantly, dispel the myth that the larger world is forever closed to them. According to Damon Butler, at age 16 (AFH co-founding teen, alumnus, and former Assistant Artistic Director) “Artists For Humanity gave me a voice when no one else would give me a thought."
As an organization with 30 years commitment to building social equity through paid employment in the creative industries, AFH continues to promote social change by expanding our thriving intergenerational community of alumni. Many leverage their own success to give back to the young people at AFH - over half our studio mentors are also alumni.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, AFH pivoted to a remote and then hybrid youth employment model, embracing technology to maintain our connected, creative community and evolve our studio model to a virtual setting. Teens gain independence, flexibility, and inventive thinking that are invaluable for emerging 21st century work practices.
The next few years will be a transformative time for AFH as we continue to innovate new creative employment opportunities for Boston’s young people. Thirty years later, AFH is unwavering in our commitment to build bridges for under-resourced communities and amplify the voices of our City’s most valuable resources: the resilient and creative young people who lead the way towards a more just and equitable future.
“The best part about working at AFH is the community. My mentors and coworkers never miss a moment to find out more about me and that has allowed me to be more social during a time where being social seems almost forbidden.”LUIS SANTANA, 3D DESIGNERBECOME A SPONSOR