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CMS students step out of the classroom to impact Charlotte's art scene

A North Carolina Arts Council grant has created a partnership between Mallard Creek High School and a former CMS graduate to take art internships to another level.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mallard Creek High School students are getting a chance to discover if their creative passions can take them to an upper-level arts class at their high school. 

A North Carolina Arts Council grant has created a partnership between the high school and a former CMS grad to take art internships to another level.

"If I was exposed to this in high school, I probably would have been a little bit further in what I wanted to do in my life, versus what I thought my parents wanted me to do, or what society deemed me to do," said Eric Ndelo, founder and creative director of MacFly Fresh Printing Company

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As part of a class curriculum, students are learning design and screen-printing techniques from Ndelo, a former CMS graduate of Olympic High School

"Imaginary to the physical, that whole career vision process," Ndelo said. "I think is what really got the students excited because they had an idea where they might see it normally on a portrait on a painting, but it's their first time seeing it on T-shirts, right? So now they have a walking billboard."

The students are creating a line of work that examines who they are in today's culture.

Zoë Canty, a junior at Mallard Creek, said her creation is a simple rose, but it has a much larger meaning. 

"A black rose itself is someone that's like working and building and growing themselves as it is," Canty said. "So with this definition, it just means somebody that's growing, even though there have been mistreated back then. But they're still growing, because roses grow." 

The experience students are having speaks to the heart of the MacFly culture and the goals of Mallard Creek. 

It provide free access for students to immerse themselves in their passions,  barrier-free and early on. 

"That passion and that type of self-integrity, right, that self-fulfillment, you know, it makes you excited to want to tell people about what you did, and actually possibly pursue a career in this or have it as a side business," Ndelo said. 

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On May 31 at 6 p.m., MacFly will have a pop-up shop to sell the students' items. 

"You'll be able to bring your own t-shirt and print in one color screen printed design by one of the students, or you can purchase the exclusive merch they're making right now," Ndelo said. 

Ndelo plans to launch a program to give more students access to the printing press world and the arts. 

Shamarria Morrison: Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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