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Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us
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Besides art instruction, students are immersed in the business side of the creative process, meeting with clients– which have ranged from commercial developers to Suffolk University Law School to Logan International Airport–and developing goods (logos, art installations, T-shirts, bike racks, and other custom product lines) for them. Students are paid to be at AFH, and they’re paid for the work they produce and sell. For 2011, AFH is projected to generate some $1.2 million in revenue, half of which has gone back to the artists in the form of commissions and wages.
“We’re giving kids an opportunity to earn the respect they’re looking for,” says Rodgerson, whose staff of 31 includes several of her original students who’ve returned to AFH as instructors. “They’re doing a job that’s valuable and important. They’re meeting with the captains of industry, and they’re in the driver’s seat. It changes their sense of self, and that was my goal. I wanted kids to feel that change of self that I discovered through art.”

Jason Talbot found exactly that. An AFH co-founder, the 34-year-old was one of Rodgerson’s original students; today he’s an instructor and mentor. He knows firsthand the importance of the organization and its power to change lives. “[Before AFH] I didn’t know who I was or where I was going,” he says. “But hanging out with Susan, I became an artist. That’s me. That’s who I am. It defined a path and helped me find success.”

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