A.F.R.O. (Artists For Recreating Opportunities)
From its inception, Nia Centre for the Arts aspired to be a space that would not only be youth-led in design and practice, but would also work to holistically support the needs of the young people that it serves. In order to cultivate this youth-centered approach, a Youth Steering Committee (YSC) was formed to provide a voice and mechanism for young people to play an integral in decision-making within the organization. Their ideas play a vital role in the shaping of Nia Centre space design, organizational development, community visibility and programming.
This collective of 11 students, multi-disciplinary artists, young parents, and entrepreneurs named themselves A.F.R.O., which stands for “Artist for Recreating Opportunities”. A.F.R.O. is a completely youth-led collective, in which all of its members are between the ages of 16-30. In addition to its role in keeping Nia Centre accountable and grounded within the communities that it serves, A.F.R.O.’s objective is to unify and enrich the Afro-Diasporic community through the arts with culture and purpose.
A.F.R.O. members receive professional development opportunities such as anti-oppression and conflict-resolution training; participation in conferences and forums; and receiving mentorship and professional work experience. They are then able to utilize these skills and networks in order to create holistic art programs, educational experiences and professional opportunities that serve the community by creating spaces for healing, empowerment, networking, and a greater appreciation of Afro-Diasporic arts, identity and culture. Through engagement in creative action, A.F.R.O. is committed to empowering youth, creating an artistic community, and using art as a tool for social change.