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  Tuesday, March 3, 2015
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August 22, 1013
Helping Hand for Artists for Humanity
By Rick Winterson

Meteorological. A great day for al fresco exhibition at Artists for Humanity.

To review for a moment, Artists for Humanity was an organization that was founded back in the nineties by Susan Rodgerson, an artist in her own right.  Its purpose:  To give young people, many of whom were “at risk”, an artistic purpose in their lives.  Its method:  Train these young people in creating works of art, and then send them out to market and sell their creations.

For several years, Artists for Humanity existed in lofts and warehouse bays around Boston, while drawing (no pun intended) young, budding artists from all over the City.  And it worked.  Young adults, who had never interacted with the rest of our society, became skilled artists.  And they sold their works, which now are hung from Logan Airport, to the Saltonstall Building, to prestigious private collections.

In the meantime, Artists for Humanity built a permanent home for itself.  That’s the elegant building on the northeasterly corner of the intersection of A and Second Streets.  It’s called “the EpiCenter”; not so incidentally, it’s the City of Boston’s only LEED-certified platinum building – that’s as green as it gets.

For a long time, the empty plot of land to the left of the entrance to Artists for Humanity’s EpiCenter belonged to Gillette.  It was a parking space – not much else.  

Meanwhile, Artists for Humanity was bursting at the seams.  It is a unique agency in Boston, and there are youth-related needs all over the City.  So, one solution is to expand, but that takes land. P&G/Gillette, which has always been a generous supporter of South Boston’s institutions, came forward and offered the land to Artists for Humanity.

The final handover of the property was consummated on Tuesday morning, this last July 30.  An exhibition of recent artwork colorfully marked the event.  Gillette Group President Patrice Louvet signed over a facsimile of the deed to Susan Rodgerson, who also signed the document.  Mayor Menino was on hand; he signed as a witness to the transaction.

Plans for the next ten years at Artists for Humanity have begun.  Among them is creating a “Maker’s Space”.  That term has multiple connotations.  “Maker’s Space” can mean a gallery with a place for internal artists and outside exhibitors, with pop-up shops for marketing various creations.

Just as pertinently, a “Maker’s Space” can also be devoted to fabrication, where the borders between advance manufactured items and works of art and design become blurred.  A 3D printer may sit beside a mill (does anyone out there have a gently-used Bridgeport?).  This is the type of operation mentioned earlier this year in Fast Company magazine, and was the subject of recent speeches by President Obama and New York’s Mayor Bloomberg.  It’s an exciting concept, and however it turns out, it’ll be located right here in South Boston at the corner of A and Second.

Anthropological. A superb drawing by a member of Artists for Humanity.

Whimsical. an oil by an Artist for Humanity member.

Musicological. A painting by a member of Artists for Humanity.

Archeological. a work by a member for Artists for Humanity.

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