New fashion design course for people with intellectual disabilities underway at CCS – Macomb Daily

Individuals in the Detroit metro area with intellectual or developmental disabilities who have an interest in art, fashion, or fashion design are encouraged to participate in a continuing course at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies.

The nine-week “Fashion Fridays & Wearable Art” course, which began July 8, is offered at CCS in partnership with Gesher Human Services (formerly JVS + Kadima) through the nonprofit’s multidisciplinary arts program. profit, Creative Expressions.

Classes are taught by Joye Ofei (left), master artist at the Community Arts Partnership of College for Creative Studies. (Photo courtesy of Craig Nowak)

Students in the program participate in Choices, a creative expression program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All Creative Expressions program concepts are based entirely on participant interest, says program director Craig Nowak.

“Many attendees showed interest and talked about fashion,” Nowak said. “The staff pitched the idea to me and I reached out to our partners at CCS.”

Classes are taught by CCS Community Arts Partnership Master Artist Joye Ofei. Participants can register for the number of courses they wish to attend. Classes have so far hosted around eight to 12 students with the hope of reaching 30 by the end of the programme.

“We wanted to encourage creativity with a focus on fashion for our Choices members and teaming up with the professional artists at CCS gave us a wonderful opportunity to do that,” Nowak said. “Designing clothing and accessories is a unique way to express your style and we know it will give our members confidence and pride, while learning new skills to express themselves.”

While each week offers a new garment or accessory, the general theme is African-inspired designs.  (Photo courtesy of Craig Nowak)
While each week offers a new garment or accessory, the general theme is African-inspired designs. (Photo courtesy of Craig Nowak)

While each week offers a new garment or accessory, the general theme is African-inspired designs. So far, participants have been able to design and create headdresses and shrouds or scarves.

“There are a lot of fabrics that have patterns and colors that are thousands of years old found in Africa,” said Larry Lunsford, associate director for education and outreach for the Community Arts Partnership at CCS. “You should see the smiles of the participants as they go through the course.”

Clothing is fitted to the artist’s measurements so that it can be worn once the program is complete.

This is the first fashion and wearable art class that Gesher has organized with CCS. In the coming weeks, students are to create tote bags, handbags, necklaces, leather wristbands, ankle and elbow straps, leather sandals and adinkra symbols from Ghana, Africa.

At the end of the nine-week course, participants have the opportunity to take part in a fashion show to display their work.

A member of the Choices program, Sally Greco has always enjoyed art and was thrilled to enroll in the course.

Every week, she can be found in wearable arts class working on a new project. His favorite piece so far has been designing a decorative headdress.

Choices program member Sally Greco poses with a headpiece she made during a Fashion Fridays & Wearable Art class.  (Photo courtesy of Craig Nowak)
Choices program member Sally Greco poses with a headpiece she made during a Fashion Fridays & Wearable Art class. (Photo courtesy of Craig Nowak)

“I love art,” Greco said. “I have a big book called ‘1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die’ which is about artists and their biographies that I love.”

In the past, Greco learned how to make pillowcases with his mother and enjoys drawing in Gesher’s Choices space.

“Students take pride in their work through a desire to share their finished artwork with others in the classroom and those at home,” Lunsford said.

Creative Expressions programs are offered year-round, including an ongoing music program with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a theater program with Matrix Theater Company, and a dance program with the Detroit Opera House.

For more information about Gesher Human Services, visit jvshumanservices.org. For more information about Creative Expressions, a Gesher program, visit shopcreativeexpressions.com.

Abdul J. Gaspar