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Artists For Humanity: Creative Jobs For Creative Youth

Artists For Humanity (AFH) is a national leader in innovative youth art and design training, employment, and enterprise. Based in Boston and utilizing a dynamic practice of close mentorship tied to “real world” applied practice, over 250 under-resourced teens are employed yearly in highly sought after after-school and summer jobs. AFH’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.

In 1990, Susan Rodgerson – artist, teacher, and entrepreneur – felt the need to address the lack of arts experiences within the Boston Public School system. Her vision was to inspire a group of 13 and 14 year olds at an inner-city middle school to engage in the creative process through visual arts. Together with six talented and dedicated young people, they co-founded Artists For Humanity. AFH began as an entrepreneurial venture that produced large-scale collaborative paintings reflecting the voice and vision of the rich cultural diversity of urban communities, and marketed them to Boston’s business community.

“They came every day after school. In the summer, they were sitting on the steps outside my studio and I was driving them home at night.” -Susan Rodgerson, artist, AFH co-founder

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. Working with professional artists/designers in graphic design, painting, photography, video, sculpture/3-D design and silk screen, AFH teens completed over 650 distinct projects and commissions for over 300 clients last year. Perhaps the best indicator of their success, Artists For Humanity’s programs and educational support services led to a 98% college matriculation rate for participating graduating high school seniors in 2012.

To learn more about their programs and how you can get involved, visit their website.