Since 1991, the nonprofit Artists for Humanity, based in South Boston, has been providing fine arts training and paid after school and summer jobs to Boston teens, most from low-income households. The students — more than 200 a year — start out in the painting studio, where their first assignment is to make a self-portrait. “They think about who they are and where they’re from,” says nonprofit cofounder Jason Talbot. “The portraits mark a moment in time in their physical, artistic, and emotional development.”
Here are five self-portraits and statements by both current student-artists and ones who have recently finished the program, each revealing something about who they are and what creating art means to them.