Aaron Maybin — Athlete, Artist, Activist
Few artistically inclined athletes capture a balance between the two disciplines better than former NFL defensive end Aaron Maybin. After earning All-American honors at Penn State University, Maybin was selected 11th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. The Baltimore City, Maryland native also played for the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets during his four-season career — but a different calling prompted Maybin to walk away from pro football at a young age despite his success on the gridiron.
“The thing I love about art is its ability to help people be expressive in their craft … its ability to make people feel.” — Aaron Maybin, TEDxJHU talk.
Now 30-years-old, Maybin spends his days engaging with his community through creative expression instead of sacking quarterbacks and tackling ball carriers. A professional artist, activist, author, educator and community organizer, Maybin is now a multi-faceted philanthropist who teaches art education and literacy in Baltimore public schools. His repertoire of creative impact includes a book titled Art Activism, an HBO documentary and Project Mayhem, an initiative founded in 2009 to provide personal and economic aid to underprivileged and at risk youth.
Maybin has employed his creative, educational and athletic platform to implement art workshops and curriculum into several Baltimore City public schools struggling with budget cuts due to a lack of State Funding. He actively advocates public policy to restore art curriculum in public schools, and his efforts across the board earned him a Fox45 Martin Luther King Jr. Champion of Courage Award in 2016.
In a TEDxJHU event, Maybin spoke about how art impacted his development in a talk titled “Our Kids Will Not Be Forgotten: The Necessity of True Activism.”
“Ever since I can remember, art has been my preferred communication method of choice,” Maybin said.
“I can remember being the aluminum foil bandit, and the Reynolds Rap thief, taking everyday household items and crafting my own toys and action figures for me to play with … An artist’s ability to use their craft, and the inspiration behind their life story, to inspire people to action — both politically and socially — I always admired that about a lot of artists, and I hope to do that myself with my own work.”
To learn more about Maybin’s revolutionary work, visit www.aaronmaybin.com