Wednesday, September 8, 2010

AFH on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric!

As Artists For Humanity launches our 20th year, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric has told the story of our mission, our youth, our business partners and our successes. The segment - Artists For Humanity Blend Art and Economics: Boston Program Teaches Inner City Kids How to Make a Profit from their Artwork - aired last Tuesday evening. We have been thrilled with the response we've received from around the nation and have enjoyed sharing our work.

When it comes to the art world, 17-year-old Kershner Williams feels right at home. He strives to take his world of art to everyone else's world. Kershner's works are prominently featured at a Boston gallery, and they've also shown up in a few other high-profile places.

As CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports, his talent may have gone undiscovered, if not for Artists for Humanity.

Nineteen years ago, artist Susan Rodgerson created the after-school and summer program to teach art - and the art of the deal. The kids are encouraged to sell what they make.

"These are kids from across Boston who come from underserved families and neighborhoods in crisis," Rodgerson said. "We're really engaging them in real work-for-hire to support them."

Their art pieces range from $100 to $5,000. One project earned a $65,000 commission. Last year alone, the teens raked in $500,000. On average, kids get half of the profits - the rest of the profits are poured back into the program and the community.

The bike racks they designed are all over Boston. Other artwork has landed at Logan Airport.

From here, many careers have taken off. Alumni Stan Stanton is now a graphic designer for the sportswear giant Reebok. "I didn't know people get paid to paint or do art," he said.

Rodgerson began with just five students. All told, Artists for Humanity has produced 6,500 art entrepreneurs.

"It exposed me to making paintings which I hadn't done before," said Toni Jonas. "It exposed me to different kinds of people."

Kershner Williams found beauty and practicality in manipulating old magazines. So far his pieces have earned him around $18,000.

"Art is always going to be a part of me," Williams added.

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