Local nonprofit secures NEA funding


A pair of WMCAT video production students help conduct an interview. Courtesy WMCAT

A Grand Rapids nonprofit has received $20,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to support an arts program for teens.

West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology, or WMCAT, received the funds from the NEA to support its Teen Arts + Tech program, a tuition-free visual arts education program focused on design thinking and social change.

“The NEA has been a leader in shaping creative youth development and showcasing the great impact of arts education,” said Daniel Williams, WMCAT executive director. “WMCAT is proud to receive their continued support and to work with the NEA in advancing equitable access to the arts for young people.”

In its second round of funding for 2017, announced last month, the NEA distributed 1,029 grants, totaling $82 million in national funding. WMCAT was one of two West Michigan winners, both in the art works category.

The Business Journal reported in June that Grand Rapids Art Museum received the other grant to fund its 2018 exhibition “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle.”

Teen Arts + Tech

WMCAT’s Teen Arts + Tech program is a project-based learning program for Grand Rapids Public Schools high school students. It has engaged more than 2,000 young people in studio fine arts, technology and design since 2005.

The NEA grant will support the program for the 2017-18 academic year.

West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology

WMCAT is a nonprofit that offers after-school and summer arts and technology programs to foster creativity and civic engagement among high school students.

The organization also provides career training for under- and unemployed adults and an apprenticeship program for young adults.


Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is an independent federal agency that gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities through its support and funding.

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