Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wearable Art sashays back to town

Photo courtesy Valley Arts Alliance
Model Kiley Shanaberger shows off Linda Lockhart's
light-tube-box creation at the 2011 Wearable Art show.

The music starts. The model slinks down the catwalk in the latest finery --  recycled boxes from LED light tubes, Christmas ornaments, raffia, and silk flowers.

That's right, it's time again for Wearable Art, the fashion show that serves as fundraiser for the Valley Arts Alliance. Wearable Art refers to hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces of artwork designed to be worn by the human body as an artistic expression. Artists - or their models - display their garments on a runway, accompanied by narration and music of their choosing. Last year's creations included a man's plastic suit in the primary colors and stark boxes of artist Piet Mondrian; a dress made entirely of balloons; and Ancient Egyptian frocks made from 400 aluminum cans. 

This year's theme is "Valley Vogue." Artists are limited only by their imagination ... and the size of things backstage. A flyer from the Alliance asks participants to check in advance if their piece is "larger than a standard doorframe. We only have space for a limited number of larger pieces."

The event matches the Alliance's mission to bring the community together through the arts, said its president, Carmen Summerfield, who sat down with the Post for a chat at Rusty's this week. The East Dahlia Avenue restaurant currently features an exhibit of photographs from past Wearable Art shows. 

"That's where you nurture the arts, with events like this," Summerfield said.

Photo courtesy of Valley Arts Alliance
Artist Colleen Wake models her aluminum-can creation
with her daughter, Sierra, at last year's Wearable Art show.
No prizes are handed out to discourage competition, she said. Instead, models and artists help each other. 

Summerfield even found herself on the catwalk last year, wearing her sister's creation: a shirt of mail made from keys. She walked to Gloria Gaynor's, "I Will Survive" -- you know, there's that line about changing that stupid lock. 

After all, when your sister makes a key shirt, what choice do you have?

"I had to wear that at the show," Summerfield said. 

The Alliance presents this year's sixth annual Wearable Art & Runway Fashion Show at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Palmer Depot. The early show is free for children 12 and under. The price of admission is $15. 

Come see what crazy creations our fine artists come up with. And check the Post next week for a photo or two...

-- Zaz Hollander

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