Faber Daeufer & Itrato is partnering with Boston-based Artists For Humanity (AFH) for the firm’s 2022 art installation initiative. The nonprofit organization offers teens paid apprenticeships in the visual arts and creative industries. One of the city’s largest on-site employers of under-resourced teens, AFH provides valuable job and cultural experiences during out-of-school hours.
“We are excited to partner with Artists For Humanity, an organization that looks to employ and give opportunities to urban teenagers to pursue their dreams and create works of art and design for local individuals and businesses,” said Suzann Thomas, Faber’s Director of Finance and Operations.
Founded in 1991, AFH seeks to address the lack of arts and entrepreneurial experiences for Boston teens through the innovative concept that young people can utilize their talents and visions to provide the business community with creative services. “Training and employing teens offers them a key solution to economic disenfranchisement and has a resounding effect on their lives, their families, and their communities,” says the AFH website.
The organization manages its operations from the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, Boston’s first Platinum LEED-certified facility. Since its opening, AFH has grown significantly as a youth and cultural community resource, as well as a successful enterprise, serving its youth apprentices as a learning laboratory that formalizes interdisciplinary arts and STEM learning. “AFH continues to pioneer opportunities for youth to utilize creativity, industry, and innovation toward an overarching goal of preparing them for emerging workforce and educational pathways… AFH counteracts the risks facing young people – one teen at a time – by giving them a job, enrichment that comes from the arts and cultural experiences, a safe place to go after school, a culture of respect, responsibility, engaged mentorship, and an opportunity to learn and conduct business in the innovation economy.”
These employment opportunities are made possible through a variety of creative services offered to Boston-area businesses, including website design, custom furniture creation, mural creations, and leased in-office exhibitions. Faber partnered with AFH to enhance their Waltham office space with the lease of a 6-month rotating art exhibit. According to Faber Administrative and Legal Assistant Andrea Wnuk, the art installation serves as a constant reminder of the firm’s values and commitment to engaging the community in a meaningful way. “The art is refreshed once or twice a year, so we get a different group together each time to collaborate and select the new pieces. It’s so much fun and is a great way for us to come together and contribute to the office,” she explained.
The first exhibit features the following group of diverse young artists, each with their own unique perspective about their art:
“My style of work is mostly abstraction. I love mark-making and texture. The mediums I use are acrylic on wood and canvas. I love using palette knives, sponges, cards, and other items in addition to brushes when I'm painting. I get most of my inspiration from my surroundings and listening to music has helped me a lot with making art. Painting has become this very therapeutic practice for me as it helps me process my emotions and just whatever is going on in that moment. It also helps me generate new ideas and make time for reflection; it’s like journaling on a canvas.”
Born in Khartoum Sudan, Marina Brhane moved to the United States at the age of 10. She started working at AFH in 2018 and recently graduated from John D O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. Marina is currently attending Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology studying CAD/SolidWorks.
“Growing up in the urban streets of Boston has sculpted my resilience, empowering my voice to be as big as my art. As an artist, I celebrate the human connection with marks, color, shapes, and sometimes even language. From starting an art club in grade-school, to selling my first painting at 15, art has always been my voice, not only for me but for my community. My art is my freedom, it’s my way to fight back. With my art, I want to bring people together, connecting individuals from all different cultural backgrounds to share in the beauty of the same thing; The Human Mark.”
Painting has inspired Kitauna to study mixed martial arts and become certified in teaching asana and yin yoga.
“I am an abstract painter; my paintings mainly focus on colors and simplicity, but sometimes with an added touch of crazy. For most of my works I use acrylic paint, wood panels, and canvas. I want people to see my work and feel relaxed and a little excited. In order to do that, I tend to use a lot of transparencies. I find that utilizing the wood-grain gives it a sense of calmness by muting the colors so they are not as saturated and loud. The colors I choose tend to be analogous tints and tones. I want everything to flow peacefully around.
Making art in general matters to me because it’s the only time I can really express myself and my creativity. I tend to keep everything inside and not tell anyone anything about myself. So showing all these colors displays the aspects of my character that I tend to have a hard time showing.”
“Before coming to AFH, I didn’t know I had the talent to create art by painting. I always loved fashion and my dream is to become a designer when I grow up. Here I create paintings on canvas with acrylic painting. My work is a constant search for the best way to interpret the ideas that I have of myself and the world I live in. I do not limit myself to one medium or style, but love exploring and knowing more. Rihanna, R&B singer and upcoming fashion designer, inspires me. There’s no limit to her creativity, and her lifestyle sets a motivational example to expand on mentality.”
Toni said that her love of art started early with magic markers and pea soup in her grandparents’ two room Brookline apartment. She said that her grandmother mentored her and praised her abilities, making her very experienced by the time she got to kindergarten. When classmates asked her to explain her drawings, she proudly asserted that they were abstract.
Toni started learning to use paint at AFH as she practiced drawing more realistically. She likes to use paint expressively to represent real people and places, and when she paints people she knows, her style and color choices reflect the effect that those particular people have had on her. In each painting, Toni finds new ways to manipulate her acrylics and develop her style. She tries to find new ways to break up space on the canvas and thinks about ratios and geometry.
Thornton “Sparticus” Nguyen
“At this point in my life, most of my artistic creations are graphic design and I only dabble in fashion design for lack of instruction. I make graphic designs by learning the client’s needs and researching them and their mission. I take multiple steps to think through elements that will resonate with the client, then sketch out designs, then review and critique with my colleagues. Ultimately, I want the client to be surprised by what I’ve designed and how well it represents them outside of mainstream ideas.
I am going to study fashion because I want to change how society views style not only within the social normality, but within the male population too. Starting with still drawings or graphic design, I will turn my concepts into lifeful garments that embrace the uniqueness we all should visually express. A man, for instance, should be able to have a wardrobe as loud as a woman’s and a woman as tame as a man’s if we are all up for equality.”
“My family impacts my art for the better or the worse. Words can’t fully express the things that I go through with my family. Art gives me a way to express myself without speaking. My mentors inspire me because they taught me that I can communicate through my art.”
“When I first started working at Artists For Humanity, I thought that it was a good opportunity, but little did I know that it was so much more than that. Not only have I discovered different mediums, styles, and ways of creating art, but I have also met so many amazing people here. I first started off by just simply going right into it, starting the painting with no idea of what to do and with a very simple sketch. I used to not like sketching because it was so time consuming, but now I respect it as the most important part of the process. It helps create a foundation for your art. I love working here and I love coming to an environment full of positivity and creativeness.”
Though she started as a semi realistic artist, Sofia discovered her own skills and realized that she can excel in both abstract and realism with the help of AFH. She credits the organization with not only helping with her art skills, but her social and professional skills as well.
“The body of work that I have produced during my four years at AFH connects to different experiences and opportunities that have made me into who I am today. Long days in the painting studio surrounded by friends and mentors influenced me to create my body of work. I naturally limit myself to certain color palettes because I am partially colorblind. When I paint, I usually use earth tones, because they are the only colors that I can really see. I believe this is what sets my art apart from the crowd. I enjoy showing audiences a true glimpse into my world.”
To learn more about AFH, their business partnerships and the incredible work they are doing with Boston-area teens, visit their website at https://www.afhboston.org/.