The West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology starts its Teen Arts Program this weekend.

WMCAT's Executive Director, Kim Dabbs, tells WOOD Radio they work with urban youth in Grand Rapids  schools who may not have much opportunity to be exposed to Art.  But it's much more than that.

"We always like to say they come for the art, but they stay for the education.  It's a really beautiful process."

This year a dozen teams of 12 students each will work together to begin to appreciate art and expand thier lives.  Dabbs say they will begin to interact with the community.

"We use that as a tool of civic engagement.  They realize things that they see that they see and want to have an effect on, and they solve that."

This year's teams start this weekend with an interactive retreat ahead of after school classes next week in which students will use professional technology and learn a variety of  art and design skills from professional artists.

Dabbs tells us that WMCAT's Teen Arts Program is funded by private donations.