Merline Labissiere, a conceptual artist from Miami, and Brent Shelor, a Hot Springs architect, will teach separate virtual summer camps in July for 7th grade students in Chicot and Desha counties.

Labissiere will teach a free architecture and design camp for girls and Shelor will teach a free architecture and design camp for boys. The Alex Foundation, in partnership with Friends of the John H. Johnson Museum, will host the two camps.

Labissiere will teach a free architecture and design camp for girls and Shelor will teach a free architecture and design camp for boys.

The camp for girls will be held on July 20-24, from 9 a.m. until noon each day. The camp is open to girls in Chicot and Desha counties entering the 7th grade. Enrollment is limited to 25.

The camp for boys will be held on July July 27-31, from 9 a.m. until noon each day. The camp is open to boys in Chicot and Desha counties entering the 7th grade. Enrollment is limited to 25.

The weeklong distance learning summer camp will use the John H. Johnson Museum and Educational Center as a backdrop for teaching and learning. A virtual tour of John H. Johnson Museum will be narrated by Linda Johnson Rice, daughter of the late John H. Johnson, for whom the museum is named. An Arkansas City native and a grandson of slaves, 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.

The Girls Camp

Merline Labissiere

Girls attending the architecture and design summer camp taught by Merline Labissiere will receive a fashion and architecture kit with all their supplies for the week, 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 an Associate in Art in Architecture from Miami-Dade College in 2007.

Although pursuing a degree in architecture brought her to SCAD, Merline discovered that marrying both disciplines in her work brought a deep foundation in her design process. It fueled many great projects in fashion, theater, costume, graphic and branding design. Her design foundation has given her the platform to cross disciplines in various design projects. Her architectural background continues to inspire her designs and other avenues of art.

As a Project Runway Season 14 contestant, Labissiere got the opportunity to design a winning look that was manufactured and sold nationwide for Heid Klum’s intimates line. Along with her passion for fashion, her brand “Merline Labissiere” started a non-profit teaching fashion for inner city youth. Recently, she has given presentations on her journey in entrepreneurship and starting a non-profit for students and alumni at the SCAD Museum of Art.

Labissiere ‘s passion to combine fashion and architecture has taken her to design conceptual art installations that expresses the design process in both disciplinary.

The Boys Camp

Brent Shelor

Boys attending the camp taught by Brent Shelor will receive an architecture kit with all their supplies for the week, including a laptop, Wi-Fi, and design software to fabricate structures. The John H. Johnson Museum will be presented to the boys as part of their architecture study on repurposing historic structures.

Shelor is the founder of Nature’s Angle, an architecture firm based in Hot Springs.

A graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Construction Science, Shelor and his wife fell in love with Lake Ouachita on their first visit after researching towns in the U.S. with the cleanest and prettiest lakes.

Shelor and his wife, who works at Garvan Woodland Gardens, named their architecture firm with a nod to Arkansas’ nature and the design perspective of an angle.

Nature’s Angle was created with an organic and environmental approach to space and design, Shelor said.

“Nature’s Angle style focuses its attention on the key views of a site, as well as blending the design into the landscape, similar to what Frank Lloyd Wright accomplished with Falling Water,” Shelor said.