This guest post is from Riley Box, 15 a student at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, Fashion Design Studio

This is my first semester at WMCAT. I’m currently participating in the fashion design studio, and could not be happier. When first signing up for WMCAT I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into — a family. The staff is so wonderful. They don’t talk to you like you’re inferior, but rather an equal. They treat your input with respect and help make your ideas a reality. WMCAT opens up so many programs and provides many cool experiences like college tours or meeting artists who are at the top of their career and field.

The different WMCAT programs collaborate as well as work with our community to help our city. For example, the photography studio and fashion studios are working together. A few photography students will be taking pictures of our fashion show on June 1 and helping out backstage. Currently in fashion, we are working with the Grand Rapids Art Museum to put on a fashion show, featuring our original couture outfits. Each of our designs are based off an art piece from the permanent collection at the GRAM.

Our task was to find a piece of art that inspired each of us to design an original couture piece. My couture piece is inspired by a vase with lotus flowers. My piece is an empire waist Egyptian-inspired dress. After going through the designing process, which is rather lengthy, we started making our sewing patterns. Right now we are finishing building our designs and it’s so fun to see our drawings come to life. Spending time in the fashion studio is a great stress reliever. Mr. John, our teaching artist, knows when to be silly and serious, and he has opened up a whole new community for me.

WMCAT demonstrates how important it is to keep the arts alive! Everyday at WMCAT I learn something new that pushes me out of my comfort zone. WMCAT’s many programs and projects would not be possible without donations and sponsors! So a special thanks to our sponsors!

Editor’s note: WMCAT provides a culture of opportunity for people to create social and economic progress in their lives and community. WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech Program engages high school students from Grand Rapids Public Schools in an after school program that was recognized by White House in 2016 with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.

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