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.
- provide 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
- 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.
|Percentage of youth from very low income homes1||52%|
|Percentage of youth from low or very low income homes||77%|
|Number of languages spoken by youth2||9|
|Percentage of youth who use their wages to support their families||33%|
|Percentage from single-parent households2||46%|
|Number of schools attended by youth in Arts Micro-Enterprise||65|
|Percentage of youth attending under-performing schools3||70%|
|Percentage of youth planning to attend college||100%|
|Number of paid teen apprentices in the Youth Arts-Enterprise||196|
|Total number of participants in Youth Arts-Enterprise||228|
|Number of additional youth participating in AFH Introduction Program||520|
|Number of hours youth are formally mentored in employment skills and creative training||36,373|
|Number of tutoring hours provided to youth||1,630|
|Top two reported values learned4: Responsibility and Patience|
|Top skill learned3: Interacting with Others (Work professionally and respectfully with a diverse group of co-workers and customers.)|
|Percentage of youth that earn their high school diploma on-time||90%|
|Percentage of full time staff that are AFH alumni||44%|
|Percentage of all adult staff that are AFH alumni||57%|
|Number of commissioned client projects||740|
|Number of paintings and photographs sold||115|
|Average sale price of sold paintings||$255|
|Total sales of youth created/inspired art and services||$902,151|
|Wages and commissions paid directly to our teen participants||$470,039|
|Number of events hosted at the EpiCenter||93|
|Estimated number of event attendees||18,000|
|Number of visitors to EpiCenter to learn about sustainability||727|
|Number of unique visitors to www.AFHBoston.com||43,691|
|Number of off-site exhibitions||41|
|Estimated number of viewers of AFH created art4||1,200,000|
|1 total household income under $27,000 for a family of four|
|2 best estimate, working to confirm these numbers for 2010|
|3 as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Education|
|4 from confidential evaluation of our youth by the City of Boston|
|5 includes permanent exhibitions at Logan Airport and Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.|
AFH has engaged several thousand teens since 1991 through creative job training and paid employment.
- 238 young people participated in our intensive after-school and summer program, the Youth Arts-enterprise.
- Of these, 208 completed the rigorous 72-hour training program and became paid employees of AFH.
- 56% of our youth employees have been employed at AFH for one year or more.
An additional 1,000 youth participated in ancillary programming at AFH.
- 90% of AFH high school seniors earn their diplomas on time.
- AFH works with the remaining 10% to guide them through alternative-education pathways, which they all eventually complete.
- This is nearly double the percentage of teens who graduate or earn equivalency diplomas from Boston Public Schools (51.3%).
- 80-90% of program graduates annually go on to post-secondary education; the remaining youth attend advanced programs and technical training. 12% of our youth receive academic scholarships.
- AFH has earned more than $6 million through the sale of our youth employees’ fine art, design services and other program opportunities.