Alumni Stories: “Where Are They Now?”

Talbot pictured as an adult.

“There were people I knew and people who I was comfortable with. It was like being amongst friends.”

Talbot was part of the second iteration of AFH teen employees and was one of the first girls to ever be involved. Because she was familiar with the space and people at AFH before she was a teen, she saw AFH more as a place to hang out than a place of work. “When I joined as an actual teen employee and had to work, there was an adjustment period for me,” Talbot admitted laughing. “I actually got a ‘talking to’ that I was playing around too much and not doing enough work. I took the month of December off and came back in January to actually work. That was a learning experience.”

“You’re allowed to have fun while you’re working but work must be done.”

Talbot remembers that she was drawing long before she was ever involved with AFH. Both of her brothers were artists and she was inspired by them, even as a kid. She recalls that when she was seven years old she and her brothers tried to make their own newspaper with comic strips in it. Later she got into drawing characters like Ileana the cave woman and a centaur with a thigh muscle that she was so proud of drawing. However, it wasn’t until AFH that she really learned about art — she learned about shading, color mixing, different mediums, and more.

“The art was there inside of me, but Artists For Humanity was able to bring it out.”

One of Talbot’s works from the Painting Studio at AFH.

“I don’t know if I would’ve been exposed to something like that without AFH. Who knows?”

Unfortunately, Talbot didn’t have as much opportunity to explore art at her public high school. “[During those times,] art was almost abolished from so many school curriculums, especially public schools,” Talbot said. “Having [AFH] as an outlet was great for me.”

“I saw that some kids whose schools were out in the suburbs — they had these photography projects, multimedia projects, lithographs, and all this art. In my school, there was never anything that deep. It was just pen and paper, markers, paint… Despite that, I was able to do photography because of AFH.”

“I think that [AFH] probably opened peoples eyes to the possibility of these kinds of programs for young teens in inner city Boston where a lot of black and brown kids weren’t important in a lot of people’s eyes.” Talbot said. “We were considered troubled or problematic.” To Talbot, AFH was a great way to celebrate the creativity of black and brown kids from the inner city who society is often too quick to neglect.

A self-portrait by Lauren Talbot.

“There’s a lot of art in Boston, but I think a lot of it comes from outside of Boston instead of taking stock of what we have locally… hopefully [AFH] can [continue their efforts to] help more people see that young people in the inner city have something beautiful to offer.”

“It helps to have a place to cultivate some sort of identity,” she said, regarding AFH. “You already know who you are in some cases, but you’re not necessarily allowed to be yourself. When you’re somewhere that allows you to be yourself — that always makes a difference in the long run.”

One of Talbot’s works from the Painting Studio at AFH.

“I would wear it with pride because it was a design that I came up with and sold to this company. Who could say that at 16 back in the 90's?”

After four years at AFH, Talbot briefly attended Mass College of Art, but ultimately decided to drop art as a career. Still, she is grateful for all that AFH has done for her. “ AFH definitely is a good memory for me,” she said. “It’s where I met my significant other and we have two beautiful girls who are now in the program. It’s a total family affair!” Now, Talbot works as an Investment Administrator to help support her family. “I have made myself the stabilizer,” she said. “So that the art exploration can happen all around me.”

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