Arts on the Block (AOB) empowers creative youth to imagine and shape fulfilling futures, join the creative workforce, and contribute to the quality of life of their communities. AOB achieves its mission by providing real-world experiences in the arts and entrepreneurial training geared toward opening new pathways to learning, self-discovery, and achievement.
A nonprofit arts organization in Montgomery County, AOB is the only hands-on visual art apprenticeship program in the region offering youth and young adults the opportunity to learn about art, design, and business by engaging them in real-world public art commissions. We recruit, train, place, and support youth and young adults with art and design aptitudes who might not ordinarily be introduced to entry-level jobs and career paths in the creative industries.
AOB apprentices join one of our existing studio crews led by master teaching artists and supported by a team of management professionals. AOB crew members work their way up through summer intensives and year-round projects to produce large-scale mosaic public art. Along the way, they receive customized professional skills training, connect with our creative network, and pursue individualized plans for success in creative careers.
Whether they pursue careers in the arts or in another field, participants are better prepared for success in their careers as a result of their involvement. Through their experiences with public art, apprentices also develop a sense of pride in their accomplishments — accomplishments that will remain visible in their communities for years to come.
Founded in 2003 under the umbrella of a larger organization, Arts on the Block initially offered Pour Your ART Out, our creative entrepreneurship program, twice a year in Montgomery County. In 2007, Artpreneurs, Inc. was formed and adopted the trade name Arts on the Block. By July 2009, AOB had become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. In 2012, AOB expanded its programs to include high school and middle school age groups in multiple locations. Today, AOB operates a working mosaic studio in Silver Spring and pop-up projects throughout the region, and we provide direct service programs to high school and middle school youth in the Washington DC region.