The Rapidian

WMCAT acquires new screen printing program

West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology has acquired a screen printing operation out of Holland, Michigan to launch a new social enterprise initiative.
Adam Weiler

Adam Weiler /Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:
Ceramics students throwing pots.

Ceramics students throwing pots. /Eric Tank

The print shop will occupy the west end of the ceramics studio.

The print shop will occupy the west end of the ceramics studio. /Eric Tank

West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) has acquired Ambrose, a screen printing operation from Holland, Michigan. Ambrose founder Adam Weiler has opted to come aboard the WMCAT team as the program director. The social enterprise is the newest addition to WMCAT. 

The program is a social enterprise that will admit graduates from the Teens Arts and Tech program who are currently enrolled in college. By primarily producing apparel for a market that Ambrose has already tapped into, Weiler hopes to be profitable in order to be sustainable. 

"If we can build a viable service, which historically we have been able to, we can better support and employ and help teens who are in that transition go to college and get a degree," says Weiler.

Weiler founded Ambrose in 2008 as a more sustainable way to do after-school arts programming. At that time, he approached the Holland Area Arts Council who had the means to facilitate his project.

When he was considering expanding into the Grand Rapids market, Weiler started talking with WMCAT executive director Kim Dabbs. Over a few months he came to realize that WMCAT was offering four of the five programs that Ambrose offered, and doing it on a much larger and successful scale. But they didn't have a screen printing program- and that's where Weiler fit in. 

"We came to the conclusion that we could do more together than apart," he says. 

Equipment includes one table for flat stock, three tables for apparel, a heat press and vinyl plotter, which will be moved into the WMCAT ceramics studio. The current studio space will be partitioned, forming an east wing that will continue to facilitate the ceramics program and the west wing that will house the new screen printing program. The transition is currently underway at WMCAT.  

"What we hope to do is support both fiscally and emotionally -through mentoring- WMCAT alums with meaningful employment," says Weiler. He wants to "use the program as a tool to gain economic proficiency."

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