our founders

Pioneering Spirits Meet Creative Visionaries: The Story Behind the Founders of Fresh Artists, A Tale of Innovation, Commitment, and the Transformative Power of Art in Education

Fresh Artists is the fruit of Roger Allen’s problem-solving gifts and his mother Barbara’s relentless commitment to providing kids with access to quality education. Barbara’s trademark response to a challenge: “Who says you can’t do that?”

Barbara Chandler Allen

Barbara boasts over 50 years of expertise in founding and managing arts nonprofits, with a rich background in museum collection management, art handling, and organizing international art exhibitions. Her experience spans prestigious institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Harvard's Peabody Museum. As a consultant, she's developed creative strategies for notable clients, including Philadelphia's School Reform Commission and Miami's Design and Architecture Senior High School (DASH). Barbara initiated the Philadelphia chapter of Cradles to Crayons and served as the inaugural Development Director for the Charter High School for Architecture & Design (CHAD), also founding the Designing Futures Foundation to aid creative urban teens.

A committed mentor, Barbara has guided young people for 30 years, contributing to their growth in arts careers through programs like "Artists at Work" at the Woodmere Art Museum, reaching over 15,000 second-graders. Her innovative educational efforts were highlighted in Daniel Pink's bestseller "A Whole New Mind" and earned her a 2010 Purpose Prize for social entrepreneurship. She has shared her insights at TEDx Philadelphia ED, the Princeton Alumni Forum, and on national platforms like the Today Show, where Jane Pauley featured her for transforming retirement into an engaging career phase, also highlighting her in the New York Times bestseller "Your Life Calling."

Roger Allen

Roger Allen, co-founder of Fresh Artists, embodies the fusion of innovative problem-solving and a profound dedication to educational equity, traits he shares with his mother, Barbara. Leveraged by Barbara’s tenacious philosophy of questioning limitations, Roger's ingenuity has been pivotal in transforming how art can serve as a catalyst for funding and inspiring art education in schools. His role in Fresh Artists reflects a deep-rooted commitment to harnessing creativity for social change, ensuring children in underfunded communities have the opportunity to explore and grow their artistic talents. This collaboration highlights the powerful synergy between Roger’s creative problem-solving skills and Barbara’s unwavering belief in challenging the status quo to benefit urban youth.