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Major expansion of artists for Humanity's Epicenter to double vocational programs and employment opportunities

April 25, 2016

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

A new 52,000 square foot building designed to be the largest energy positive commercial facility on the East Coast. 

 Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the proposed expansion of Artists For Humanity's EpiCenter to help Boston meet the City's dual objectives of providing living wage jobs for urban youth and filling business demand for skilled workers. Mayor Walsh was joined by Artists For Humanity's Executive and Artistic Director Susan Rodgerson as well as by the project's sponsors: Liberty Mutual Insurance Chairman and CEO David H. Long; Cabot Corporation CEO Sean Keohane; and Vice President of Global Gillette Business at Procter & Gamble John Mang.

Based in the Fort Point Community of South Boston, Artists For Humanity is a national leader in youth arts enterprise whose mission is to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions by providing under-resourced urban youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in art and design.   

"Artists for Humanity is building a new generation of Boston-based artists and creative thinkers, and this expansion project will allow them to provide even more opportunities for our youth to become involved in creative work environments," said Mayor Walsh. "Their innovative approach combines arts and culture with STEM curriculum to give our young people the skills to think critically and obtain well-paying careers in the future."  

Artists For Humanity is the largest onsite employer of teens in Boston and demand for services has exceeded its current space.To meet the demand for services, Artists For Humanity plans to expand its existing EpiCenter with an additional 52,000 square feet to expand existing initiatives and accommodate new ones. Plans for the expansion include:  

  • Double its employment of high school-aged teens;
  • Develop vocational programs in technology-based arts media and trades;
  • Engage the community through a fully-equipped Makers Studio;
  • Craft a unique community-based space dedicated to the urban youth experience;
  • Expand its successful event space for corporate and social celebrations;
  • Connect youth through partnerships with universities and synergistic industries; and
  • Be the vibrant center for creativity in the Innovation District.

The vision for the new facility has been made possible through donations from three sponsors: Liberty Mutual Insurance; P&G/Gillette; and Cabot Corporation. A groundbreaking for the new facility is scheduled for the fall of 2016.

To help Artists For Humanity realize its vision for the new facility, Liberty Mutual Insurance donated $1.5 million - an initial $1 million to establish the Liberty Mutual Career Center and, as announced by Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David Long at today's kickoff event, and an additional $500,000 to help AFH meet its fundraising goals. The Career Center will provide space forsector-specific apprenticeships and advanced certificate-based trainingincluding experiential learning and STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) skill development.  

"Artists for Humanity is a bridge that links Boston businesses with the next generation of skilled, creative, technologically-savvy employees," said Liberty Mutual Chairman and CEO David H. Long. "Artists for Humanity's mission to provide under-resourced youth with the skills needed to succeed aligns perfectly with Liberty's philanthropic aspiration to change lives and transform communities of our most vulnerable neighbors. We are honored to help bring to fruition this new Career Center that holds the promise of changing the lives of local youths and giving Boston the workforce it needs to be an innovation leader."      

"A few years back, Artists for Humanity shared a new vision with us," said John Mang, Vice President, Global Gillette, The Procter & Gamble Company. "This vision took a little piece of land and upon it, create something bold, inspiring and far-reaching.  This vision enables Artists for Humanity to more than double the number of teens it reaches every year, while enhancing the local community through new services and offerings such as a fully equipped Makers Studio. This dream was so compelling that we wanted to help make it a reality.  That is why we made an unprecedented decision to donate a parcel of our land to Artists for Humanity to bring its vision to life."  

In 2004, AFH completed the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter - the nation's 9th LEED Platinum building - a facility dedicated to providing young people with employment, opportunity and connections.  Working with Behnisch Architekten, Artists For Humanity's new expansion is slated to become the largest energy positive commercial facility on the East Coast. The project includes passive design, radiant heating & cooling, and an innovative 235 kW 'wrapper' of mesh-integrated photovoltaics to power the building.  

To help achieve this energy positive goal, Cabot Corporation, donated $400,000 worth of its highly insulating aerogel. This product will be used in the unique SOLERA® + LUMIRA® aerogel daylighting systems created to provide exceptional thermal performance, as well as natural light distribution and diffusion.  

"We are proud to support Artists for Humanity, as this pioneering and iconic facility will not only be a model that can be replicated for green building and renewable energy efforts across the globe, but will demonstrate the energy-saving capabilities of our aerogel technology and the feasibility of green development," said Sean Keohane, president and CEO, Cabot Corporation.