Whether it’s producing music or uplifting the voices of marginalized young people, you can always find Delanoe Johnson at the center of the action. As a Senior Associate at New Profit, he works to promote youth activation and support incorporating youth voice into the conversations about the need to reimagine learning and create a new paradigm to help youth prepare for the profound shifts that are transforming the future of work.
“I believe, in my core, that the arts are an engine for changing the world that not enough funders, organizations, and others pay attention to,” said Johnson, who is also a stylist, producer, and DJ. “We see a lot of discussion about the urgent need to get young people involved in social change work, and one of the most powerful ways to do this is to make our work more culturally relevant to them by using creative expression.”
Johnson recently visited Jason Talbot, co-founder of Artists For Humanity (AFH), to sit down for a conversation and get a peek at some of their youth artists in action. AFH is an arts-based program for teens in Boston, MA that hires youth apprentices to collaborate on innovative projects commissioned by clients.
Some recent AFH projects include: painting a triptych inspired by peptides, proteins and DNA for Ipsen Bioscience; building the prototype for a large-scale sculpture that encourages recycling for Bank of America; and designing graphic posters for a peer-to-peer healthy and sustainable food campaign for the Real Food Challenge. AFH teens sit at conference tables with the CEOs of companies where their work is appreciated, their opinions are valued, they are treated as peers, and they are looked to as experts.
In Johnson’s self-produced video, he talks with Talbot about the opportunities that art can create for youth, and the importance in supporting arts programs in our communities.
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