Ubuntu Arts

Collaborative Youth Art-Making and Exhibition in the Spirit of Ubuntu

This year the 2019 exhibit theme and title is:  Finding Ubuntu:  The Youth Speak. The exhibit will be open at the Towne Art Gallery at Boston University’s Fenway Campus from April 9-20 and the opening reception includes live performances and informal discussions with the youth artists on April 9 from 5-8 p.m. No RSVP necessary.

Gallery hours:

  • Tuesday-Friday: 12-4 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 1-4 p.m.

For directions to the Towne Art Gallery, please visit this page on the Wheelock Family Theater website.

Watch the CBS interview with Ubuntu student artists.

Each year, beginning in 2006, Ann Tobey, Ph.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, has organized groups of young people, college students and adult mentors to collaborate on the conceptualization, implementation, and exhibition of art-making projects that give voice to social issues of concern to youth in the Boston area. Now housed in the Youth Justice & Advocacy (YJA) program at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, Ubuntu Arts seeks to create opportunities for learning and growth for YJA students, local youth, adult mentors, youth serving organizations, and a wide community of viewers and participants.

Each Ubuntu Arts project creates a framework and a unique process by which people can work together creatively, identify issues, imagine solutions, make art and exhibit art. In this process of learning by doing, participants build relationships, competencies and skills for themselves and their communities.

We strive to empower youth to become full participants and valued decision makers throughout the project. Youth work together in groups at their host organizations where they work closely with college liaisons, adult mentors and artists. Groups consider the meaning of Ubuntu, they debate, discuss, negotiate, make decisions and choose a particular issue or message of focus for their piece. They wrestle with issues of identity and community and ultimately consider solutions to the issues of concern.

Each group works collaboratively to choose a medium and a form for their art-work and together they engage in the detailed process of art-making. The finished products symbolize and depict their ideas and the messages that they would like to share with viewers.

Youth and adult mentors prepare their works for exhibition, craft artist statements, and serve as ambassadors for their projects during the reception and subsequent events where their work is showcased. Ubuntu Arts has partnered with Violence Transformed violencetransformed.com for the past ten years.

Ubuntu Arts 2018 was pleased to work with youth groups at the following organizations: Artistic Noise, Boston; Bird Street Community Center, Dorchester; Blue Hills Club, Boys & Girls Club of Boston, Dorchester; Boston Collegiate Charter School, Dorchester; Boston International High School, Newcomers Academy; Charlestown Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston; Italian Home for Children, Jamaica Plain; Margarita Muñiz Academy, Jamaica Plain; Mattapan Teen Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston; United Church of Christ, Youth Outreach, Rindge, NH; Westwood High School; William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School, Boston.

For more information about Violence Transformed please see: www.violencetransformed.com.

For more information about Ubuntu Arts, contact Ann Tobey: atobey@bu.edu.