Back in November BostInno reported that Artists For Humanity, Boston’s largest employer of youths and teens in an artistic capacity, was expanding on its South Boston headquarters by an additional 57,000-square feet. On Tuesday, June 23, a public hearing will be held to engaged the public on the development’s more intricate details.
This growth would bring AFH’s aptly named EpiCenter to a total of 81,000-square feet of space.
AFH has grown by leaps and bounds, empowering Boston’s younger and under-resourced demographic through art since 1991, and has since outgrown its Southie complex where it’s been situated since 2004.
In fact, in 2014 alone AFH completed more than 723 commissioned artworks and hosted 89 events while generating almost $1.5 million in fine art sales and services.
AFH’s proposed development has been slightly modified since announcing its plans last fall with plans for a roughly 6,000-square foot reduction.
“As we got further into designing the expansion and studying the expected usage times of different spaces, we found opportunities to be more efficient and flexible with spaces,” AFH director of operations Drew Motta told BostInno. “As these efficiencies developed, we were able to reduce our required area. This smaller building makes it easier for us to position enough photovoltaic panels to become Energy Positive.”
The new space will allow AFH to double its youth employment and provide for 250 more jobs, and create a new “Maker Studio” which, Motta added, “allows the public to access our art-making facilities and equipment, and interact with other creative young people and adults.”
Along with building out the EpiCenter, AFH will also support the nearby Channel Center Park through a new accessible streetscape design and subsequently activate it by increasing event programing and resources for the surrounding neighborhood.
“We want to further our mission to bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing under-resourced youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts,” said Motta. “We see a transformative opportunity to put urban young people in the center of the arts and culture conversation of our city.”
Should AFH’s proposal be met with a positive community response and receive approval from the BRA to push forward, construction could begin this fall and last for approximately 14 months.
Tuesday’s public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. at AFH’s 100 West Second Street location.