Edition 12 — Will Wiggins

Something Very Specific and Special

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Will Wiggins pictured as an adult.

As a child and teenager, Artists For Humanity alum Will Wiggins loved anime and comics — both consuming them and creating his own. “I tried to blend American comics and anime together. I had my own comic book at that point, but it was all a very basic look,” he remembered. Wiggins has been passionate about drawing from a young age, saying, “I was always invested in getting better at art.” However, his understanding of the art world opened up after he started working at AFH.

Wiggins was a junior in high school when he learned about AFH two days in a row from two different people. First, he ran into a friend in Boston who told him about AFH, saying, “I’m working at this place where I get paid to draw and paint.” A day later, one of his high school teachers suggested that he check out the organization, as she knew that he loved to draw. …


Edition 11— Jamilyah Waldron

A Complete Game Changer

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A teenage Waldron works on one of the many paintings she created while at AFH.

Jamilyah Waldron joined Artists For Humanity when she was a freshman in high school — around 2003, she thinks, but can’t quite remember. She stayed with the organization into college, going from an assistant mentor to a full-on mentor in the painting studio. Today, she works as a registered nurse in an emergency room, where she says she routinely uses the skills and philosophies she learned during her time at AFH. Waldron lives in Scituate, Rhode Island with her husband Nathan, another AFH alumnus, and their two-year-old child.

Waldron learned about AFH through a friend when she was a freshman in high school. Her very first day, she met Rob Gibbs, Co-Founder and Director of the Painting Studio. She showed him her art, and he responded, “That’s cool, but we’re going to teach you a lot more.” Prior to AFH, Waldron had enjoyed drawing characters she saw on TV, such as Spongebob, but had never given the medium a ton of thought. She was nervous that first day, “because I was bringing my art to a place where everyone was an artist.” …


Edition 10 — Jameel Radcliffe, Artist and Painting Mentor

A Fire Artist

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When Jameel Radcliffe was 19 years old, he already knew he wanted to be an artist. In 2013 he told the Boston Globe,

“Art is definitely going to be a big part of my life for a long time — it can change a lot in a person’s life.”

Since leaving Artists For Humanity as a teen, Jameel has fulfilled his prediction. When I ask him if he would prefer to do a phone call or an on-site interview, he answers with a laugh, “Actually, I’m a Painting Mentor. …


Edition 09 — Junia Ryan, Graphic Designer

“Designed by Someone Like Me”

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Junia Ryan notices the influence of art and design everywhere.

“When I explain I’m in advertising, I say, ‘You see that billboard? That’s designed by someone like me.

This label on your bottle of water that you’re drinking? That’s designed by someone like me.

The things that you see in the grocery store? Those were designed by someone like me.’”

Now that she is an art director and graphic designer, Junia Ryan sees design everywhere. But then again, she’s always been a creative person on multiple fronts. …


Edition 08 — Alexandra Paul Zotov

Communications Director and Graphic Designer

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Before my first conversation with Alexandra Paul Zotov, I was already familiar with some of her work, yet not with her work as a graphic designer: media content for cultural giants such as Young Thug, Art Basel, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar.

I had read Artist For Humanity’s blog “Strictly Business: Women of Influence,” an initiative that Alexandra Paul collaborated on with a group of AFH mentors and female teen leaders. The project connected AFH participants to inspiring women through a series of interviews with the likes of Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. …


Edition 07— Handy Dorceus

“AFH is more like a home, it’s somewhere you go to be creative and try things.”

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For someone like Handy Dorceus, Artists For Humanity was more an occasion of serendipity than it was something that he actually visualized in his life. Always more drawn to STEM fields, throughout his childhood he wanted to be an astronaut and his favorite TV channels were the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Handy was obsessed with space and black holes, which left him with a fascination for science, math and everything in between. …


Edition 06 — Brenda Leong, Curator/Exhibitions Manager

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I always knew from a young age I wanted to pursue art but I didn’t have the opportunity or the guidance for it. So that’s where I was fortunate enough to stumble upon AFH.”

Brenda Leong’s love affair with art started between the pages of design magazines and notebooks.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Leong grew up in Boston’s Chinatown. As the first generation to grow up America, she found herself raised in a mix of cultural differences. Leong had been looking for a creative outlet at the time that she discovered AFH in 2002. …


Edition 05—Daniel Backman

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Before the construction of Artists For Humanity’s LEED platinum certified EpiCenter building in 2004, AFH called an empty warehouse in South Boston home. Given free reign over a wide, open space at the age of 14, Daniel Backman recalls how the trust afforded to him was an integral part of his meteoric AFH experience.

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Before the EpiCenter, Artists For Humanity called an eclectic warehouse space on A Street home.

As warehouses have traditionally been used as artistic spaces, the old wallpaper factory on A Street, with its heavy sliding doors and freight elevators, lent a transformative and organic nature to Backman’s time with the organization. A Massachusetts native who spent his childhood between Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, Backman wasn’t new to Boston’s art classes and programs by the time he reached the studios at AFH. …


Edition 04 — Fabiola Moquete

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“I would’ve been flavorless french fries.”

If there are any words to describe what Boston native Fabiola Moquete might have been without her Artists For Humanity (AFH) experience, it would be those. A 2011 graduate of the Boston Arts Academy, Moquete was already well versed in the art-making process when she learned about AFH. Still, she jumped at the opportunity of employment in the arts and arrived at AFH with a specific goal in mind.

“I wanted to learn how to paint,” she said, recalling how—despite going to an art-centric school—there was little time to focus on painting itself and, instead, she was expected to switch between a variety of mediums. “It wasn’t enough for me. …


Edition 03 — Free Marseille

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Photo by Gesi Schilling

Free Marseille’s first day as a participant was spent sitting in Artists For Humanity’s third floor Painting Studio. Open and occupied floor to ceiling with paintings, and window to window with easels, Free remembers the space brimming with the feeling of possibility.

“I’m seeing all of these amazing paintings and I just couldn’t wait to get started.” He said, “I knew that if I was around these people, there was so much I could learn.”

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Free’s portrait of Rashad Nelson, in AFH’s Painting Studio, made with oil paint.

Free, an immigrant from Haiti who has resided in Brockton, MA since he was eight years old, first heard of AFH through an expansion program looking to open an AFH branch in Brockton. …

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Artists For Humanity

CREATIVE JOBS FOR CREATIVE TEENS

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