Ten years of wearing art

By Laura Bardsley

Every year, the Alberta College of Art and Design hosts its very own wearable art performance/fashion show in its main mall. This year, the show’s 10th anniversary, promises to be the best ever.

Georgia Lee, one of three ArtaWEARness coordinators, gives some insight into this year’s performance and the history of the great event.

“ArtaWEARness is a wearable art performance fashion show which takes place annually,” Lee says. “[It] was started by a student [Natalie Gerber] here who wanted to take the idea of art as fashion to the next level.”

The very first show was hosted in the C-Train hallway connecting ACAD to SAIT and the Jubilee, a far cry from the pomp and glitz of this year’s location. Last year’s performance consisted of pieces from all types of artists and medias, ranging from Lee’s delicate glass pieces to humongous paper-mache sculptures to decorated cow pelvises.

Lee proudly brags about the diversity found in the show when asked.

“ArtaWEARness gives opportunities to artists from all different departments, medias and disciplines to showcase their talents, and their views on what wearable art should look like,” she beams. “It ranges from sculptural work to more fashion based work to performative work and uses a whole range of materials.”

Although they started off with a modest budget, ArtaWEARness also resorts to approaching local companies and galleries for sponsorships. The show cannot be great without their help.

“PK Sound is sponsoring us this year, and we’ve also received sponsorships from SwizzleSticks SalonSpa and different Calgary companies,” Lee says. “We’ve been getting a lot of support from galleries around the city and more artist-run centers.”

Also, the artists get some monetary help to produce their works as well. While the money is barely a pittance, it still helps the

“We give our artists an artist’s fee which is very small and comes out of our own budget,” she says. “We [also] get a grant from the [Alberta Foundation for the Arts]. The show itself is non-profit.”

In the show, artists are judged in different categories, such as best performance, most outrageous, most entertaining and so on. The artists picked for the show are chosen from a plethora of submissions. This year features 30 submissions from 14 featured artists.

“It’s tough because all the work submitted is so engaging and so different from everything else,” Lee explains. “We do offer prizes, although our focus is not on it being a competition. We like to keep it fun, but we will be handing out trophies to the winners which we have decorated ourselves . . . and a small gift certificate from one of our sponsors.”

Lee is enthusiastic to elaborate why people should check out the show. From the fashion show to the afterparties where DJ In Order To Danse, ArtaWEARness

“It will be like nothing they’ve ever seen,” she says. “[It’s a] combination of work and dance and performance and fashion — a very unique event.”

Leave a comment