August 2017






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Thanks to our friends at National Grid, this summer was chock-full of STEM-inspired field trips which helped inform our art and design for the Summer Exhibition. Here, mentors and participants reflect on what they learned during visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA) the Boston Common, the Public Garden, Autodesk BUILD Space, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Thank you to National Grid for sponsoring our summer program!


Alan L.

While on the Autodesk field trip, I learned that their clients mainly include universities, start ups and other beginners. Autodesk has different tiers but overall they wish to meet the industry demand and help with difficult transitions. They take in several groups and split up the space so that many groups can work on their projects at once. They also monitor the training within the groups with badges which helps with safety for the groups.​

The graphic design studio had the opportunity to tour Autodesk’s BUILD space and learn about how design and technology can come together to innovate. Design doesn’t just live on a computer, it can also come to life through the use of software and robots. The BUILD space is Autodesk’s way of keeping its finger on the heartbeat of design. By providing a space to conduct research, companies, universities and individuals can work with and learn from Autodesk professionals to develop and provide new functions and features to their clients which lets them push the envelope on what can be built today and in the future.

Autodesk reflections
from participants

Kelly D.

At the field trip I really liked the cool machines that they had there for people to use. Materials weren't provided but I think that’s a fair thing to expect.  The office area had big tables which I liked because you have a lot of space to spread out and work. There were also separate rooms for each kinds of machine including a 3D printing room, a woodshop, and more.

Ogadeni M.

This summer, the Graphic Design team visited Autodesk. Autodesk can be regarded as a global technology workshop. They have a great space where Autodesk workers are encouraged to help each other grow and learn more. There are many cool objects at Autodesk, such as a moving closet with a bed under it. There is a lot of machinery to create and build objects. The work space is very cool and I hope AFH can incorporate Autodesk's arrangements into the expansion for the Graphic Design studio.​

Justin N.

What I learned on the trip today was Autodesk designs software for people who make things like cars, and other items. I also learned that you can go into the building and rent a space and work on designs there. I learned that they had many workshops from woodworking to working on computers. I learned that the first floor consisted of all the heavy tools and where they test most of the inventions.

The teens witnessed how tissue is analyzed, the technology and AI behind cellular metabolism, and the data visualization techniques used to demonstrate the results of various studies within cancer research and health disparities.


In talking with the doctors, both the teens and DFCI scientists discussed how much better science and medical research could be communicated to the public if it teamed up with designers. The teens therefore discovered how many design opportunities there are in medicine and science and how similar thinking modules are used.


At the End of Summer Exhibition, the Graphic Design teens will display artwork created as a response to their experience and learning at DFCI.


Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI)

Gary Chen: Painting Mentor

On July 21st, I brought my group to the Museum of Fine Arts to explore the different categories of art genres. Each participant was able to get information and an understanding of some of the traditional and contemporary artwork in the museum.


The teens gathered inspiration and ideas from the museum. We sat our group down to discuss foundational techniques. This involves composition, mathematical layout, shapes, texture and color. Afterwards, we brought the group to Dick Blick Fenway to teach everyone the differences between the various paint supplies including canvases, mediums, and brushes. This way, our teens are equipped with useful direction when purchasing their own art supplies.

Museum of Fine Arts &
Dick Blick Art Store

On August 11th, our group took a trip to the Boston Common and the Public Garden. I assigned the group to gather visual imagery and references for their next painting inspirations. Going to a bustling area of the city helps bring insight to what tourists and visitors love about Boston's sights and landmarks. Taking in the scenery, I worked with teens on their drawings from observation, and helped break down the important foundation sketch. This is when an artist deconstructs an image or object and see the scene as a series of shapes. Math and geometry help artists understand observational drawing. After sketching we gathered around, shared our sketches and learned from each other’s work.

downtown boston, boston common & the public garden

My group (with Rob) went to the MFA on July 21st. There was a focus on analyzing various compositions and how different artists go about building their compositions using mathematical elements like the "golden mean", relative square, and other means.​

Museum of Fine Arts

Michael Talbot: Painting Mentor

For my group's STEAM field trip, I took them to the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and compared the painting process to an investigation in the sciences.


The first step in the scientific method is observation. We talked about how studio practice is the same as gathering data in a lab and how one’s overall success as an artist relies on consistency, dedication, and cleanliness, the same practices utilized by scientists.


As a conclusion, I showed them Picasso's nine phases of abstracting a bull. I described the geometry and the theory behind reducing something to a line and compared it to optics of sight and the visual pathways one uses to construct reality. All in all, there was a lot of science and art culminating in a very STEAM-oriented visit to the MFA.


Ari Forrester: Painting Mentor

This summer, the Graphic Design studio visited Dana Farber Cancer Institute for a STEM immersive experience. During their visit, they were given access to research labs on pathology, targeted medicine, and population sciences + data visualization.​

Judy Brassard-Brown's studio
in Dorcester

Judy was a professor of mine and Massiel. We took our group to see her studio and listen to her talk about her work. She also lives upstairs above her studio so we got to see how she curates other artists' work on the walls and how she built up her studio and house. All of these things require engineering and math to make sure artwork is hung properly in relation to the dimensions of the space.​

We go here every summer. We focus on many different works, but a lot of modern, post-modern, and contemporary art incorporates engineering — especially furniture design and process-based work like print media and sculpture.

Phoebe Warner: Painting Mentor

One of my participants was fascinated by the museum’s Dale Chihuly statue. It requires a lot of math to make sure the sculpture isn't too top heavy since the glass pieces are delicate and could break if the design isn't properly supported.​​


SoWA First Friday

Every summer, we visit SoWA galleries during First Friday to see new exhibits and explore artists' studios to see how different people work, arrange their workspaces, and curate their art.​

Franklin Park Zoo

Every summer, we visit SoWA galleries during First Friday to see new exhibits and explore artists' studios to see how different people work, arrange their workspaces, and curate their art.​

boston public library

We use the library resources to explore work by different artists as well as to find inspiration for new painting concepts. Researching subjects outside of art for artistic purposes is interdisciplinary, and the teens really enjoy it.​





Artists For Humanity | 100 W 2nd St Boston MA, 02127 T.617.268.7620    F.617.268.7358



This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Mass Cultural Council, and administered by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.​

Funded in part by Boston Public Schools (BPS) Arts Expansion, a multi-year effort focusing on access, equity and quality arts learning for BPS students. The BPS Arts Expansion Fund, managed by EdVestors, is supported by the Barr Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Katie and Paul Buttenwieser, The Klarman Family Foundation, Linde Family Foundation, and other foundations and individuals.. BPS Arts Expansion is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.​

Artists For Humanity is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.​