The Alex Foundation, in partnership with Friends of John H. Johnson Museum in Arkansas City, will host its annual architecture + design summer camp for girls online featuring nationally known leaders.

The free virtual summer camp will convene from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, July 20-24. Enrollment capacity is 25 for girls entering the 7th grade in Chicot and Desha counties, according to a news release.

The summer camp will use the John H. Johnson Museum and Educational Center (John H. Johnson Museum) as a backdrop for teaching and learning.

A virtual tour of John H. Johnson Museum will be narrated by former Ebony CEO Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of John H. Johnson, for whom the museum is named. The John H. Johnson Museum will be presented to youth participants as part of their architecture study on re-purposing historic structures.

“An Arkansas City, Ark., native and a grandson of slaves, John H. Johnson was the founder, chairman, CEO and publisher of the multimillion-dollar Johnson Publishing Company, the iconic Ebony and Jet magazines and Ebony Fashion Fair. Ebony Fashion Fair included a traveling fashion show and cosmetic products,” according to the news release.

Johnson Rice resigned as chairman emeritus of the Ebony Media board in September 2019, according to the Chicago Tribune. She stepped down as Ebony Media’s chief executive officer in March 2018, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

Meanwhile, the architecture + design summer camp will also be taught by Merline Labissiere, a Project Runway designer.

Youth will receive a fashion and architecture kit with supplies, including a laptop, Wi-Fi, and design software to design clothes and fabricate structures.

“Labissiere, a Miami- based conceptual artist, fell in love with the idea of marrying architecture and fashion design at an early age. The young Haitian American designer graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design in 2011 and Associate in Art in Architecture from Miami-Dade College in 2007,” according to the release.

Although pursuing a degree in architecture took her to SCAD, Labissiere discovered how both disciplines in her work brought a deep foundation in her design process, according to the release.

“As a Project Runway Season 14 contestant airing on Lifetime, Labissiere got the opportunity to design a winning look that was manufactured and sold nationwide for Heidi Klum’s intimates’ line,” according to the release.

Her brand, “Merline Labissiere,” started a non-profit teaching fashion to inner city youth. Recently, she has given presentations on entrepreneurship and starting a non-profit to students and alumni at the SCAD Museum of Art.

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