WMCAT to host conference on prosperity


Courtesy West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology

West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology (WMCAT) will host a conference this spring “to challenge assumptions and advance conversations on personal and community prosperity.”

The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit will host “WMCAT 20/20: Exploring Conflicting Visions for the Future” June 4-5 at various locations on Grand Rapids’ West Side, including WMCAT’s headquarters at 614 First St. NW.

WMCAT 20/20 will engage attendees around four pillars of personal and community prosperity: education, health and well-being, economic prosperity and social capital.

Daniel Williams, president and CEO at WMCAT, envisions the event — which doubles as a celebration of WMCAT’s 15th anniversary — will bring people from different lived experiences together through shared learning and exploration.

“How can a person or a community learn and grow if they only encounter others who hold the same ideas and experiences?” Williams said. “Attendees will arrive at the conference in June with a common interest in the four tracks, but WMCAT 20/20 will offer exploration of those common interests from various perspectives.”

More than 50 leaders in business, nonprofit, government, education and creative fields helped generate topics, content and presenters for WMCAT 20/20.

The event will feature national keynote speakers Eldar Shafir and Manuel Pastor, as well as interactive sessions, live entertainment, art and food, and space for networking.

Additional speakers and artists will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Tickets, available online at wmcat2020.org, went on sale today for $350 for the two-day event. A reduced rate for tickets may be requested on the event website.

Space is limited to 250 attendees.

Admission includes an evening party with dinner and live entertainment, as well as a light breakfast, lunch and refreshments both days.


Founded in 2005, WMCAT is a nonprofit that strives to provide social and economic opportunities for individuals and their larger communities.

WMCAT offers after-school and summer arts and technology programs and career training in medical coding, medical billing and pharmacy technician fields to underemployed and unemployed adults.

The organization also houses two social enterprise businesses: Ambrose, a commercial screen-printing business, and Public Agency, a human-centered design thinking consultancy.


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