February 2020

We’re back with the latest and greatest from inside the studios, as well as an update on Events, Projects, Opportunities, and more!​


"We brought our team to The Guild to observe how each individual and groups of people flow through the environment. With this experience, we could more effectively understand where the obstacle points were and design visual systems to not only guide each person to where they wish to go, but also promote individual independence of each community member."

—Kelsey Arbona, Graphic Design Mentor

New wayfinding and information system at The Guild for Human Services designed and installed by AFH's Graphic Design studio!

The Guild for Human Services offered an amazing opportunity for our young teen designers—to redesign their visual space, creating a wayfinding system that refreshes the school's environment through the use of artistic signage and graphic murals. The Guild, a school that serves individuals from age 6-22 with intellectual challenges, needed a space that better fit their personality. 


The design challenge was to create a system that would appeal to all ages and members of their collaborative community.

Designing the Guild’s logo and visual brand, as the first step, inspired the themes assigned to different areas of the building, now known as the “The Ocean,” “The Forest,” and “The Neighborhood.” The murals and signage create a recognizable visual language throughout the environment.

The building also offers Break Rooms where individuals can find quiet spaces during the day. These areas were perfect opportunities to designate animal names to each Break Room and give the community common language in alignment with the Forest, Ocean and Neighborhood themes. Examples of this include, "Sloth Break," and "Panda Break," in the Forest; "Turtle Break," in the Ocean; and "Cat Break," in the Neighborhood. To create more user-friendly “nook” and “bench” areas around the school, the design team extended the environment themes with large-scale murals representing the Forest, Ocean and Neighborhood.

Each month, we highlight Artists For Humanity’s enterprising teen artists and designers to give you an inside look into their creative process and their unique experience at AFH. AFH’s model reinforces the reciprocal value of pairing working artists and designers (who we call ‘mentors’) with teen artists and designers (who we call ‘teen participants’ or ‘apprentices’) to find creative solutions for client projects. This month, we sit down with 3D Design Studio participant Ivana Pham.​

Name: Ivana Pham

Studio: 3D Design

Age: 17; High School: Boston Latin Academy

Years at AFH: 1.5 years

How did you find out about AFH?

I found AFH through friends who were already working here. I had visited AFH a couple of times and became interested in working here. I wanted to find a job and make my own money instead of getting an allowance. I also wanted to explore my artistic abilities. It was fun seeing and learning about the different studios during the open house tour.


What are your favorite aspects of working here?

I really like the supportive environment here, as well as my friends and mentors. I get to explore a lot of new things from learning how to collage to mixing and pouring concrete. I really like that I’m always learning a lot of new things and I get to practice my skills and learn new techniques.



What challenges have you faced?

Working with clients can be challenging because they are not always sure about what they actually want. They may say one thing and then change their minds once they see it physically. This is a big challenge in the design process.


What advice would you give to newcomers of AFH?

Have the courage and be willing to try new things, open yourself and find out what you like. AFH is a place where you are always going to learn something new—you are hearing and experiencing new things every day. Testing new strengths and working in a new environment could open your eyes to new things, give it a chance!


What inspires you?

The process of working with clients, creating a paper or cardstock model—to seeing a more physically finished product— inspires me. It’s rewarding and accomplishing to see a product from start to finish. Working with my friends and mentors is a great experience and what I look forward to.

What are your plans after AFH?

I would like to become an assistant mentor one day, or maybe a job in the medical field; but I also have an interest in design and architecture after taking field trips with AFH to companies like Payette Associates. And of course, I will visit AFH often!



We hope you enjoyed the read and visit us soon!

Did you know you can lease AFH paintings for your home, office, or event? Read more about our most recent clients exhibiting AFH art.​

Our new client, Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), leased a collection of AFH teen paintings for their office space. AFH’s Exhibitions team curated, delivered, and installed the art for this one-year lease. GBREB was connected to AFH by Ayana Mack who is an AFH Alumna and now works at GBREB as a Graphic Designer! Yet another AFH impact story, soon to be told through “AFH Alumni Voices: Where Are They Now?”


The Greater Boston Real Estate Board is proud to display artwork from youth created at Artists For Humanity. As an alumnus of the painting studio, it means a lot to be able to support an organization that accelerated my personal and professional art journey. Working alongside Brenda and her team to complete this was such a simple process  - the work was up in no time. We love the artwork and will continue to support!” 

- Ayana Mack, Senior Graphic Designer Greater Boston Real Estate Board

AFH hosts one of the largest collections of youth-created works in the country. Clients can choose a collection for lease or purchase from a selection of contemporary art curated by our exhibitions team. Clients can also commission their own unique piece.


Beth Israel Lahey Hospital recently purchased paintings by AFH teens.

Painting purchases are a great opportunity for our teen employees to earn commission and gain recognition in the field.


“Beth Israel Lahey Health is proud to support Artists For Humanity, as we share a common mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives. By employing young artists and empowering them with tools and training, AFH is fostering the creation of amazing art as well as forging career pathways for talented youth in our community. We are fortunate to have 15+ of their works on display in our administrative office, which serve as sources of personal and professional inspiration for our staff on a daily basis.”

-Kevin Tabb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Beth Israel Lahey Health



AFH’s 3D Design team designs bike racks for Boston neighborhoods- see them now in The Fenway, coming soon to Allston and Brighton.

These bike racks were created in partnership with Samuels & Associates, and with support from Boston Planning & Development Agency and the Boston Red Sox.


Ready to be installed! 

Another series of bike racks for Allston are soon to be installed. The designs are driven by the City’s vision of a space enhanced by sustainable goals, thoughtful transportation, and arts and culture. The teen designers, many of whom live or go to school in the Allston-Brighton area, developed the designs in collaboration with AFH mentors and Allston community organizations—Allston Village Main Streets and Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation. Each design symbolizes the Allston-Brighton neighborhood in a unique way.

AFH designed four bike racks that artistically brand “The Fenway.” The designs serve not only as functional street furniture for bicyclists, but also as sculptural art that celebrates the neighborhood as a destination, while encouraging sustainable commuting. The four racks are strategically situated along the commercial streets of Brookline Avenue and Van Ness Street. 


If you visit at the right time, you may just see the sun casting “The Fenway” on the sidewalk through the letter openings on the bike racks!

Record: Speaks to Allston’s musical history and character. Home to many musicians and concert venues dating back to the 1960s.​

“Allston”: A fun way to represent the visual art culture in Allston, while serving as wayfinding for visitors to the area.​

Bike Sprocket: Speaks to sustainability and the local bike culture, incorporating one of the most important components of a bicycle: the sprocket.​

Green Line: Celebrating Allston as host of the oldest subway in the country!​


This project is supported through Boston Planning and Development Agency’s Harvard-Allston Public Realm Flexible Fund, in partnership with Harvard University.

Coming soon to Brighton! AFH is kicking off a new project in collaboration with Brighton Main Streets and Allston-Brighton Community Development Corporation—designing an artistic story along the streetscapes of Brighton, from Cleveland Circle to Brighton Center—with a series of artistic bike racks that speak to the historic and cultural aspects of the Brighton-Allston community and its built environment.


This project is supported by the Boston Planning and Development Agency's Boston College Neighborhood Improvement Fund for Brighton and Allston.

Alumni Voices: JUNIA RYAN

Hear from AFH alumna Junia Ryan in our newest edition of Alumni Stories: “Where Are They Now?”​

AFH Open Studios
on FEBRUARY 26, 2019​

Enjoy refreshments while touring our creative studios from 5-7pm on Wednesday 10/30. Bring a friend, family member, or colleague & introduce us!​

Meet creative teen artists like Ivana and see our latest projects in action! 


What have you learned since working here?

I have learned how to work with clients as well as how to communicate in the work environment. I’ve also learned a lot about how business works, especially on a recent project with AFH client Mark Stock called “MiniCty” which involved a lot of marketing. Although I didn’t create the idea, it was more about assembling the 3D printed parts and understanding the investment, marketing, and business behind the project.


What are three big changes you have experienced since working here?

Being in 3D has really helped me with expressing my ideas. We work as a group and rely on each other’s opinions. I’ve learned how to work collaboratively and my interest and love for art as a hobby and job has grown since working here.


How has your time at AFH affected your personal, academic, or social life?    

Academically, I didn’t really struggle because when you start working here you get adjusted to having a job and school. AFH also provides tutoring after work and I often stay later to do homework, so that is a really good thing. It’s easier now that I am accustomed to having a job and have a better understanding of time management. You learn how to separate your time for when to hang out, when to work, and when to study.


What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

A favorite past project of mine was when we got to mix, pour, and sand a concrete table for Breckenridge, an investment firm. It was really cool because we got to mix the concrete by hand and pour it into a mold. It was an awesome experience. Where else would I get to do this? This was a new and unique experience. It was great to see the process, from mixing it, letting it set, and then the final result, it was very rewarding.

The illustration style, which became the basis for the graphic murals, was conceived by AFH Teen Iris Xie (photo right), who is now studying at Rhode Island School of Design. Xie is one example of how the AFH mission comes to life!​

Leasing AFH artwork is a great option because it enables clients to refresh the art, keeping their space dynamic and inspiring for their employees and visitors, while continually supporting Artists For Humanity.​




Artists For Humanity | 100 W 2nd St Boston MA, 02127 T.617.268.7620    F.617.268.7358



This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council, and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.​

Funded in part by Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion, a multi-year effort focusing on access, equity and quality arts learning for BPS students. The BPS Arts Expansion Fund, managed by EdVestors, is supported by the Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, The Klarman Family Foundation, Linde Family Foundation, and other individuals. BPS Arts Expansion is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.​

Artists For Humanity is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.​