When it comes to challenging audiences’ senses and pushing the envelope, Public Energy has few peers if any on Peterborough’s arts and entertainment landscape. No better example of that has been The Wearable Art Show featuring The Runway Challenge, which returns for its sixth year on Saturday, May 14th.
The Wearable Art Show — Public Energy’s major annual “faux-fashion” fundraiser — will again be staged at the Market Hall Performing Arts Centre (140 Charlotte St., Peterborough).
Tickets are $24 for general admission or $17 for students, seniors, and the underwaged. Table seating, offering the best view up close to the runway, is also available for $30. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the show beginning at 8 p.m.
The feature attraction of The Wearable Art Show is the Runway Challenge, where artists/designers are randomly matched up with local businesses and challenged to create a stunning work of fashion.
The catch is that the artists can only use materials provided by their retail partner — and they have less than a month to finish their creation. Last year’s designs were comprised of materials such as printed paper, environmentally friendly packaging, and gardening and building supplies.
On Wednesday, April 13th at the Market Hall, we found out this year’s pairings of artists and businesses: Lisa Marchant with Lakefield Pantry, Kathryn Bahun with The Night Kitchen, Jess Rowland with Pammett’s Flower Shop, Melinda Masters with Custom Copy, and Chris Magwood with The Endeavour Centre.
With a sixth designer having dropped out, the search is on now to fill that void. Those interested are urged to contact Public Energy’s artistic producer Bill Kimball at 705-745-1788 (the retail partner for that designer will be Dieter and Darcy’s No Frills).
For artist Lisa Marchant, “the opportunity to show what I do” is a big drawing card in terms of her involvement again this year. Last year, Lisa entered the open call segment of The Wearable Art Show — an opportunity for other individuals and teams to create wearable art also modeled as part of the evening.
On Wednesday, Lisa’s creation from last year — made entirely of fused plastic film that couldn’t be recycled — was modeled by Sarah McNeilly. Another eye-catching piece, made exclusively of 35mm movie film and designed by Hartley Stephenson, was modeled by Sarah Rudnicki.
“It was fantastic, over the top. I was really happy to be part of it,” says Lisa of her experience last year.
“I consider myself an eco-artist,” she adds. “I usually use things that can’t be recycled or items that end up in the landfill site. I use those as a statement of anti-consumerism. Basically, I’m trying the help the planet through art. I’ll probably be going through Lakefield Pantry’s garbage bins but I’ll also maybe use some things like sugar to fuse things together, and maybe some flour and used paper product.”
Few wore a bigger smile Wednesday than Bill, clearly pleased that The Wearable Art Show remains as popular as it was the night it debuted as Mad Mod Men.
“People look forward to it every year because they know they’re going to get something different,” he says. “It’s interesting to see what the imagination conjures up.”
Bill also sheds some light on the event’s birth.
“Board members and volunteers put their heads together and came up with the idea of a fashion show,” he recalls. “It showed off local clothing retailers, like a traditional fashion show. We later decided the traditional fashion show is not the Public Energy style. Other people can do that well — so we went with wearable art.”
Bill is quick to point out The Runway Challenge, while being the event’s feature attraction, isn’t the only drawing card. The open call segment, he says, is very popular and has already brought forth some two dozen entries, including entries from TAS fashion and visual art students, and students with Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education (PACE).
For the open call, designers select their own material. They can use fabric in their creations, but the end result must be of the one-of-a-kind variety. Those interested in entering the open call should call 705-745-1788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The variety of things we see is extraordinary,” says Bill. “Last year, we had a fellow wearing a pyramid made of cardboard and a wooden frame. It had three parts: a head part that rotated, a torso part that rotated, and the bottom.”
New this year will be live internet streaming of The Wearable Art Show by Unavox, the event’s sponsor.
For more information on The Wearable Art Show, visit www.publicenergy.ca.