Alumni Stories: “Where Are They Now?”

“You can make your entire life full of art.”

Ayana Mack arrives at the EpiCenter in striking red-framed glasses and a sleek professional get-up
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s campaign T-shirt and tote, examples of Ayana’s product design.
Ayana was in charge of event branding for the Boston Art & Music Soul Festival.
Ayana directed design for social media headers, stage banners, and even billboards. (Photo: American Repertory Theater)
Ayana has collaborated with artists and businesses as far as Martha’s Vineyard, Washington, D.C., Virginia.
Ayana Mack, “Self-Portrait.” Her favorite project from AFH.
Ayana painted as a teenager in the AFH Painting Studio and still loves to paint today.

“How?”

“When did this happen?”

I began Ayana’s story with the moment I met her because it was too difficult to pick just one anecdote signifying the start of her art career. Did it start when she built a giant gingerbread house with her grandmother to apply to Boston Arts Academy? Or when she followed her mother’s advice to study graphic design instead of fashion? Or when she sold her first painting at AFH? No matter the specific moment in which it all began, Ayana can’t imagine the difference AFH has made to supplement her creative path.

Ayana’s work explores themes of transformation, leadership, and strength.

“My entire life is art, whether it’s designed, whether it’s visual, it’s all art.”

Ayana acknowledges not everyone is so fortunate to have support within their family and exposure to the arts through their school, making AFH even more necessary as a space to engage kids. For many teenagers, AFH does act as the beginning — the introduction to a life full of art.

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