The Rapidian

Teens use art to affect social change

WMCAT hosts exhibit to showcase spring projects.
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WMCAT hosts Teen Arts Exhibition May 21 to showcase projects with nonprofit partners

What: WMCAT Teen Arts Exhibit (GRPS high school students)

When: Wednesday, May 21 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Where: WMCAT, 98 E. Fulton Street, 2nd Floor

Public invited

WMCAT fashion design students working on exhibit projects.

WMCAT fashion design students working on exhibit projects.

WMCAT fashion design students working on exhibit projects.

WMCAT fashion design students working on exhibit projects.

The West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) will host its annual Spring Teen Arts Exhibit Wednesday, May 21. There will be 12 teen design teams showcasing their work. These teams consist of Grand Rapids Public School students, one of which will be fashion design. The fashion design team has partnered with Family Promise, a hospitality network in Grand Rapids, to address the needs of the children they serve.

Under the guidance of WMCAT Teaching Artist John Cox, the fashion design team created fire fly toys to gift to the children of Family Promise. In order to ensure that all children recieve a fire fly toy, the students partned with the Video Production team to create a tutorial on how to make the toy. This will allow Family Promise to engage volunteers in creating toys and serving more children in the future.

"Many of our children have to leave everything behind when they come into shelter,” said Cheryl Schuch, executive director at Family Promise of Grand Rapids. “The firefly toy is one of the first things our children get that they can call ‘their own’, a symbol of hope, once they arrive at Family Promise. It’s inspiring that the firefly was developed by high school students who want to give back to their community, and they designed the toy in such a way that others are able to duplicate its production, so this toy can engage community help and continue to provide comfort to the children at Family Promise.”

In addition to the fashion design projects, other highlights of the Spring Teen Arts Exhibit are; app design, illustration, video game and technology. 

“The WMCAT Teen Arts + Tech program empowers teens to affect social change in their community through the arts,” says Kim Dabbs, WMCAT executive director. “We are so impressed with the amazing projects our teens have poured their voice and talent into this school year. This exhibit gives us the chance to recognize their unique perspectives and celebrate their contributions to our community."

The exhibits showcased this year are result of after school and summer arts programs offered by WMCAT, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a culture of opportunity for people to create social and economic progress in their lives and community.

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