Daily Sitka Sentinel

Wearble Art Going on Stage - Twice!

    ArtiGras kicks into its second week tonight with the fourth annual Wearable Arts Extravaganza.
    The event sold out in every one of the past three years, leading to the decision to stage the show on two nights, instead of one, said Jeff  Budd, an Americorps volunteer with the Greater Sitka Arts Council.
    But it turned out that not even two nights were enough because by press time today both shows were sold out.
    Grace Brooks and Megan Pasternak will host the program, which features about 35 works of wearable art. Brooks got a sneak peak at Thursday’s dress rehearsal, and gave an enthusiastic review.
    “It looks absolutely incredible,” said Brooks, who herself will be dressed to the nines for the occasion. “Milan, Paris, London, New York has nothing on us when it comes to fashion.”
    Brooks has attended the show every year, and last year modeled a creation from a high school student who turned green grocery bags into a sleeveless dress with a full skirt.
    “It was quite lovely,” Brooks said.
    A group will be coming up today from Ketchikan’s Wearable Art show to model their fashions for Sitka.
    The Wearable Art show is the arts council’s biggest fundraiser, and Budd is excited to see continued enthusiasm for participating in and attending the show. This year there are many new entries, but the show is smaller than last year’s, with about 10 fewer garments.
    “We have all ages, from a 5-year-old model to Bill Foster, and everything in between,” Budd said, referring to the retired Sitka High science teacher. “We have Pacific High, Sitka High. There will be a good range and some new ideas we haven’t seen before.”
    When he spoke to the Sentinel Wednesday, he had not yet seen any of the creations, but had read vague and often intriguing descriptions provided by the artists.
    “Some of them were pretty coy,” Budd said. “I know they’ve been working hard.”
    He said every year organizers have tried to improve the show. This year, the focus was on upgrading the lighting and increasing opportunities for people to attend.
    “It’ll be fun,” Budd said. He added that he wanted to thank the Centennial Hall staff for the extra work they’ve put in to help make the program a success.
    The Wearable Art show is only one of the highlights of the annual ArtiGras festival, a celebration of the arts in all shapes and forms.
    Budd said every year, arts council board members hope to keep it interesting by offering new events over the three weeks of the festival.
    One of the new events this year is a show called Tattoo as Body Art. The contest invites Sitkans with interesting or beautiful tattoos to enter up to three tattoos in the show 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 12. The entry fee for contestants is $10.
    The arts council is working with the Bayview Pub, Up the Irons Tattoo & Trading Company, and Studio 907 Tattoo to put on the event, which is a fundraiser for GSAC.
    Winners will be selected for: best color; best back or chest tattoo; best American, Old School or patriotic tattoo; best Oriental tattoo; worst tattoo; most original; best arm sleeve or leg sock tattoo; and Best of Show. Prizes will be given to the winners.
    Budd noted that GSAC has some decency standards related to the program, and that contestants are expected to be appropriately dressed.
    Another event added this year was a songwriters showcase which took place last weekend at the Performing Arts Center. Budd was pleased with the performances as well as the turnout for the event, and hopes to continue the concert next year.
    GSAC organizes the schedule for the ArtiGras, which includes many GSAC-sponsored events in addition to events sponsored by other organizations wanting to be part of the annual arts festival.
    “Part of the goal is to try to expand it into a regional event,” Budd said. “The other part is to have something going on in the shoulder season. Eventually we’d like to bring more people into Sitka.”
    GSAC events include Ketchikan artist Ray Troll’s drawing class, which is already sold out; and Troll’s band the Ratfish Wrangler’s Music and Science Hour on March 9. The multimedia event features Troll playing with the local group Slack Tide, and showing science-oriented slides of his artwork.
    “It’s a concept of music, and mixing it into songs about science,” Budd said. Troll will also spend time working with kids at Mt. Edgecumbe and Sitka high schools.
    Another GSAC-organized event is the second annual Ode to Sitka Art Show, where artists create works that are somehow a tribute to Sitka.
    “The idea last year was finding a way to visually express your appreciation of Sitka,” Budd said. Last year’s show had a companion Monthly Grind, where performances were supposed to be a tribute to Sitka.
    An oil painting workshop with artist Bruce Nelson March 16-18 will mark the official end of this year’s ArtiGras.
    The full schedule is available online at artigras.info.
    Today’s events include:
    5 to 7 p.m. – 48-Hour Film Festival, pick up rules 713B Sawmill Creek Road. Films shown 6 p.m. Wednesday.
    7 p.m. – Wearable Art Extravaganza, Centennial Hall
    7 p.m. – Fifth-grade Shakespeare play, “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Sitka Performing Arts Center, $5.
    7 p.m. – Second performance, Wearable Art Extravaganza, Centennial Hall.

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