Artists For Humanity (AFH) alumnus, Tony ‘PRONZY’ Perez, was an AFH teen artist in the painting and sculpture studios for several years before becoming an assistant mentor for an additional three years (and recently exhibited at Abigail Ogilvy Gallery!). Perez reflects on how AFH impacted his growth mentally and artistically, “Growing up the oldest of ten [fourteen now] with a single mother, a lot of pressure is put on your shoulders to set an example for my siblings. I struggled with that a lot. I wasn’t the best academically, was not very athletic, definitely wasn’t good at art by any means; AFH changed that for me. They were a home away from home. Rob, Stephen, Andy, Swat -- they were all more than mentors, they were family. They molded me, artistically, mentally, and culturally. They were very honest and didn’t spare feelings. They wanted you to know that you had room to grow, so you could become the best you could become. Rob always said, “Grow on, Flow on” and I intend on doing that exactly. While they mentored me in the arts, what I appreciated from the beginning and will until the end, is how much they visibly care for our development and well-being; even if we don’t choose to be artists later on.”
Not only does AFH give teens an opportunity to explore various realms of art, but the program also allows them to experience working with clients directly and coming up with creative solutions. A recent example was a project for the Bank of America lobby, which was spearheaded by a fourteen-year-old AFH teen! Academic tutoring is also an important part of the AFH program: 100% of AFH high school seniors graduate on time and go to college, including top schools like Boston College, Georgetown University, RISD, and Tufts University.
Given the success of AFH alumni it is clear how much impact the organization has on the lives of their teen participants. By supporting their careers, AFH creates young, innovative, and informed leaders who can redistribute the tools they’ve learned from AFH to the youth around them.
Abigail Ogilvy Gallery looks forward to hosting a two day exhibition with AFH on June 2-June 3, 2018. Join us for a Spring Mixer the evening of June 2nd, all proceeds for the event will be donated to Artists For Humanity: Learn More
Artists For Humanity's (AFH) mission is to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to long-term economic and personal self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design. AFH’s mission 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 and enriches their communities. In 27+ years, AFH has grown to become a leader in youth development and one of the largest onsite employers of Boston teens. The next few years will be a transformative time for AFH with the expansion of the EpiCenter, which will allow AFH to double youth employment to 500+ teens annually. To learn more, visit: www.afhboston.org.