Alumni Stories: “Where Are They Now?”

“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.

To this day, Artists For Humanity’s bustling Painting Studio remains chock-full of creative activity.
A painting completed by Fabiola Moquete in 2014, during her time at Artists For Humanity.
Fabiola Moquete works on an abstract painting in the AFH Painting Studio.

“I remember feeling like it was a different bubble. Once you come in, your mind is somewhere else — in a positive way. I always felt good staying here. It felt like a studio, it didn’t feel like school. Even though it was the same thing as my school in terms of doing art, the atmosphere was different.”

Moquete found points of drive and discipline at AFH, particularly around her goal of improving her painting skills. She cites Co-Founder/ Director of the Painting Studio and Programming Rob Gibb’s presence in the Studio as one such key point of motivation.

Rob Gibbs, Co-Founder/ Director of the Painting Studio and Programming
A painting Moquete completed during her time at AFH.

“I just focused on me and I tried to learn as much as I could from everyone because everyone has at least one thing to teach you. I tried to see the positive of what people could teach me. I really enjoyed myself and there was always something new to learn about painting.”

Of all the projects Moquete completed while at AFH, two stand out to her the most. The first, a mural at Field’s Corner Station in Dorchester for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), is special to her for the professional aspect. “I remember that I had to go to the presentation to get their approval for the mural, which was an awesome experience,” she remembers. Speaking to clients and seeking approval is an integral part of the AFH model, giving teens real life business experience to go hand in hand with the art making component of the program.

AFH’s “Do You” mural at Field’s Corner Station is a project Moquete remembers fondly.
A large-scale painting for Bank of America Moquete contributed to during her time at AFH.

“AFH taught us how to focus on the positive. Because you’re focusing on positive things, you’re not associated with violence or slacking in school. You have to have a certain grade to stay here and there are so many opportunities to learn. I think that the teens understand that and they appreciate it. That’s why they keep coming back. They’re treated like adults.”

During her time at AFH, Moquete learned a panoply of painting techniques from her peers and mentors.
Painting by Fabiola Moquete

“That was my proudest moment because I felt like I was a part of something bigger, to help the future and current high school students.”

This networking and push for leadership roles among the teens served as a base for Moquete to build on after her time at AFH. While Moquete was already receiving training in the arts at the BAA, AFH filled the gap by providing skills taught outside of the classroom. “AFH helped me with time management, communication, listening to people’s constructive feedback, just being honest with yourself and others, and being respectful of people’s time. It was less the design side and more the values and skills. A lot of networking and client-face meetings helped me a lot.”

Fabiola Moquete earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) from Wentworth Institute of Technology.
After graduating from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Moquete landed a job in a design firm.

“It reminded me a lot of AFH in terms of how everyone communicated with one another and helped one another, which is why I fell in love with that place.”

Fabiola Moquete currently works as an architect at leading Boston design firm Stantec.



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