Artistic expression through various art forms

On March 3, 2018, the Sarah Wise Wooten Young Ladies Academy (SWWYLA) held an action-packed workshop that explored the fashion, acting, and photography industries. The session was led by three subject matter experts who encouraged the participants to showcase their creativity and foster artistic expression through the various art forms. From designing an article of clothing, performing an improv skit, to conducting a professional photo shoot, the participants were fully engaged from start to finish.

The workshop was kicked off by Brittany McCoy, a University of Maryland graduate, fashion designer, and full-time entrepreneur. She shared her story on how she entered into the fashion industry and gave the participants a preview of her latest collection of signature pieces designed for young female professionals. Her presentation highlighted the key characteristics a successful designer – creativity, confidence, and resourcefulness – and challenged the participants to tap into their own fashion sense and design skills. Following the interactive discussion, Brittany guided the group through a “Project Runway” style competition. The participants were instructed to design a complete look using an item from Brittany’s collection and one unconventional fabric. After a period of intense group collaboration and teamwork, the girls were ready to walk the runway in items fashioned with bows, fish nets, and party streamers.

The excitement surely did not stop there. Marjuan Canady, an acclaimed writer, director, and actress, joined the group to facilitate a lesson on improvisation. She introduced the participants to several theatrical techniques and gave them the center stage to act out scenes, with and without words. Through these exercises, the girls quickly learned that acting is full body experience and requires a commitment to the characters and scenes that are being portrayed. A resounding applause and eagerness to continue acting out scene after scene, were true testaments to the participants’ interest and engagement. This particular segment of the workshop also confirmed that the SWWYLA group is comprised of some budding actresses with great promise and talent.

Professional photographer, Patrick Moss, was the final presenter and definitely helped to end the program on a high note. He led a discussion on the latest trends in photography, explained the science behind the art form, and gave tips on how to break into the industry. He also stressed the importance of building your brand, portfolio, and network. Patrick was later joined by a professional make-up artist, who chose one of the SWWYLA participants to complete a full make up look in preparation for what followed next. To capture the essence of his work, Patrick arranged a photo shoot for the participants and demonstrated the effects of lighting, backdrops, and posing. The girls jumped at the opportunity to be featured in the shoot and exuded their grace and effortless beauty in each photograph.