In Other Boston Arts-related Postings on November 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm

LINC and MetLife Foundation Recognize Boston Non-Profit For Its Exceptional LEED PLATINUM Art Space

New York, NY – Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) has named Artists for Humanity (AFH) of Boston, MA a recipient of the 2010 MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards.   The non-profit arts organization dedicated to helping at-risk teenagers received a $10,000 grant in recognition of its EpiCenter, an acclaimed LEED Platinum building that evokes environmental stewardship while serving as an inspiration and backdrop for creativity.

The Innovative Space Awards recognize outstanding efforts in the design and development of affordable space for artists, an integral part of LINC’s Space for Change: Building Communities Through Innovative Art Spaces program. These facilities provide a firm base from which artists may pursue their works while simultaneously contributing to shaping vibrant, healthy communities. The winning projects were selected from nearly 100 applications from 37 states; awards range from $10,000-$50,000.

Since 1991, AFH has empowered and employed Boston teens in an intensive program of arts, creativity and social enterprise.  Students are partnered with professional artists and designers to create, market and sell artistic products ranging from paintings, murals, sculpture, and photographs to digital media projects and graphic design. Clients include most of Boston’s major corporations and organizations. 

AFH has engaged thousands of Boston teens over the years and remains a haven where they can express themselves artistically, identify possibilities for continuing education, and most importantly, dispel the myth that the larger world is forever closed to them.

In 2004, AFH completed its headquarters, the Platinum LEED Certified EpiCenter.   Lauded as one of the “Top Ten Green Buildings” in the country, and one of the “5 Most Beautiful Buildings in Boston” it provides a fitting venue for perhaps the largest permanent display of youth-created fine art in the nation.

 “The MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards acknowledge best practices in the field of artist space development. Artists for Humanity’s focus on innovation, environmental stewardship, and financial sustainability serve as an excellent model for other organizations,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to partner with LINC to recognize all the winning programs and the important role art plays in our communities.” 

“Artists need affordable and appropriate work space to create new work.  The recipients of the 2010 MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards address this challenge in diverse ways, offering solutions that foster creativity, spark neighborhood revitalization and invest in community,” said Judilee Reed, executive director, LINC.

Four other winning organizations each received a $10,000 award: 

The AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H. is dedicated to promoting the visual arts through year-round exhibitions and educational programs that nurture, support and challenge New Hampshire and Vermont artists, while further providing art classes for children, teens and adults of all levels and abilities.  Located in a recently renovated, former-factory building, AVA provides 21 affordable studio spaces to artists whose presence is integral to the organization.

The Kamehameha Schools in Kona-Big Island, Hawai’i, in consultation with Hawaiian cultural organizations and local families, has undertaken the kuleana (responsibility) to mälama (preserve) national treasures of Hawaiian antiquity. The schools are returning sacred places to their appropriate cultural and educational use.  In less than two years, five sites in Kahalu’u makai have undergone restoration.

Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas was founded in 1993 by local African-American artists who wanted to have a positive, creative presence in their own community. From the original 22 houses, there are now almost 50 buildings which house artist exhibition spaces, artist residency houses, artist studios, arts education programs, houses for young mothers, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, and low-income residential and commercial spaces.

The Youngstown Cultural Art Center in Seattle, Wash. is a unique multi-purpose facility dedicated to the arts, education, and the provision of space for members of the community to live, create, converse, and perform.  Live/work artist studios occupy former classrooms on the upper levels, while the ground floor houses six non-profit, tenant organizations that target hard to reach youth with non-traditional approaches to arts education and an alternative program of the Seattle Public Schools.

 The grand prize winning organization, Side Street Projects in Pasadena, Calif. received a $50,000 award in recognition of its unique, completely mobile infrastructure that provides career-support services to contemporary visual artists, including an equipment co-op and a robust set of youth programs that integrate art, science and math education.  

 “Cultural facilities are essential components of thriving communities. Space for Change was designed to encourage a wide range of stakeholders—from  policymakers to planners—to account for the ways in which arts and culture can and should complement other effective development strategies, whether in rural or urban communities,” said Susan Silberberg-Robinson, associate project director, MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards and lecturer in Urban Design and Planning, MIT.

To see a short video about this year’s recipients, go to

Space for Change—a program created to promote the development of affordable art spaces through awards, research, and learning—was launched by LINC in 2009 in collaboration with the MetLife Foundation and the Ford Foundation.  The program includes two funding opportunities: The MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards (ISA) and the Ford Foundation Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development Grants.  The first awardees of the MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards were announced in fall 2009.

About LINC

Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) is a ten-year national initiative to improve the conditions for artists working in all disciplines. LINC believes that providing artists with a relevant system of support and resources will enhance their creative output, enabling them to make greater and more meaningful contributions to our communities and society as a whole. Visit for more information.

About MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was established by MetLife to continue the company’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants are made to support health, educational, civic and cultural organizations and programs. The Foundation contributes to arts and cultural organizations, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for young people, reaching broad audiences through inclusive programming, and making arts more accessible for all people. For more information, please visit


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