This guest post is from Marriah Barrera, 14 a student at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, Photography Studio.

Community projects are a way for WMCAT students to connect with various components of our community, and also provide a chance to present artwork beyond a gallery. These projects are guided by a “How might we?” question, one that we answer or offer a solution to through carefully executed artwork.

For the photography studio, the project question is “How might we show our community the best ways to learn?” The question was developed after discussion and a mutual agreement of the importance of acknowledging that there is more than one “right” way to learn.

Through brainstorming, surveying, interviewing people and planning, a general foundation for the project was created. Now was the execution; capturing pictures that encapsulate our theme and can portray the message.

Each student found a thought-provoking quote that they felt offered or suggested a solution, and took a picture inspired by the quote. These prototypes were viewed and critiqued by the group, in some cases revised, and a final printed.

The next step was figuring out how to get the images to the community. One outlet provided would be The Bridge, a crisis shelter for teens provided by Arbor Circle. This specific showing space would expose our project to youth, potentially inspiring and empowering, especially when it comes to learning endeavors.

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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