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Engaging communities + Grant recipients

Raw Art Works

For over 30 years the BSA Foundation has awarded grants to support public education programs in Massachusetts related to the built environment. Raw Art Works (RAW)—a 2015 grantee—received a grant to support Good to Go (G2G): Free Arts Based Employment Opportunities for Unserved Young Men. Good to Go is an arts employment program. Through the design of murals and art objects, nine young men learn problem solving and leadership skills. Learn more about Raw Art Works here.

Raw Art Works' summary of the program:

The Good to Go (G2G) youth created seven public art pieces this year for a variety of partners. Collaborators included the East Lynn Little League; Hope & Comfort; Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development; One Community One Voice; Bike to the Sea; Seth Mouton; and the Lynch/Van Otterloo YMCA.

Who was the audience and what was the benefit?

This programmatic year, 2015-2016, we served 10 youth through our G2G program. Seventy percent of the young people served were Hispanic, Asian, African American, or mixed race. The majority, 90 percent, lived in Lynn. Seventy percent of our youth were from low-income to extremely low-income families. Seventy percent spoke English as a second language and 20 percent had either an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at their school or a formal mental health diagnosis—many more had undiagnosed challenges.

How did this program meet BSA Foundation funding goals?

G2G directly aligns with the BSA Foundation’s criteria that the project funded must allow for hands-on engagement in “the planning and design process.” During G2G, youth are involved in every step of these processes. Typically, community partners or clients seek out RAW/G2G’s services. Once the needs of the client are fully understood, the boys sketch possibilities. A critique process ensues and the collaborator selects a design. The design process does not stop with the client’s decision. Youth consistently face challenges as the projects are completed in situ. The boys must be proactive and resourceful to solve the issues that arise.

What was the final product of your BSA Foundation grant-funded program?  

G2G has been hard at work, making the local community little bit brighter. This year, G2G worked on seven public art projects for an assortment of partners. Highlights include:

Their Neptune Court mural (4’x16’), which showcases the rich culture and industrial history of Lynn’s South Street neighborhood. This mural extends along the former Saugus Branch Railroad. Over the past summer, G2G teamed up with their counterpart, the Women Art Muralists (WAM) to create a 16’x24’ mural for the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA. With each of these projects, the youth had to create multiple designs and flex to their clients’ requirements.

How did you deliver your program to your target audience?

During the school year, programming occurs for approximately 34 weeks, twice a week for two hours. In July and August, G2G typically meets for six to eight weeks, four days a week. Because of the public nature of G2G’s projects, their pieces are seen by audiences all along the North Shore. For example, during the spring, Lynn’s mayor honored our youth at the event, “Functional Zero.” They were given accommodations for the pieces they completed for the Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood’s Veterans Division. “Functional Zero” celebrated Lynn’s eradication of veteran homelessness. Public officials, local nonprofits, and governmental institutions attended.

Evaluate how well your program met your intended goals.

Using both quantitative and qualitative tools we noted measurable progress. Select statistics from our G2G youth are outlined below:

  • 89% of young men agreed that, "My confidence in myself has improved."
  • 100% of youth agreed that, "My art skills have improved."
  • 78% of G2G agreed that, "I am better able to solve problems."
  • 100% of the boys agreed that, "My ability to contribute positively to my community has
  • 100% of G2G felt that, “I can better communicate with coworkers and other people.”
  • 88% of the boys agreed that, “I have learned to accept feedback with a positive attitude.”

Provide a brief summary about leadership:

In addition to the regular guidance provided by our senior staff members, Kit Jenkins (Executive Director), Mary Flannery (Founder), Käthe Swaback (Program Director), and G2G’s Director, Bruce Orr, G2G invited numerous guest artists into our studios. For example, youth met and worked with local artist, Andrew Houle. Houle provided the boys a small workshop on oil painting. Chris "Tall Boy" Coulon was another guest artist that visited and gave an informal lecture this past fall. Coulon is a Lynn native now working as a professional illustrator. Because of Coulon’s tie to Lynn, Coulon’s story resonated with the boys of G2G.

Additional developements

View images from the program below.

To learn more about how the BSA Foundation is making an impact in communities, please come to BSA Space for a one hour “tour” of BSA Foundation programs. On the tour, board members and volunteers will tell stories about how Foundation programs, and the power of design, are positively changing the lives of real people. Meet the BSA Foundation meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Events are free, but seats are limited. Check for upcoming dates and to reserve your seat.