By Alice Froude and Jasmine Cabanaw
Photos by Tori Silvera

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This past weekend, Market Hall hosted Public Energy’s Third Annual Wearable Art Show, featuring the Runway Challenge. The event incorporated dance and theatre with a fashion twist.

Public Energy is “an animator of contemporary dance, theatre, performance and interdisciplinary work.” This fashion event showcased dance, art, and catwalk performances from the young and old, the designers and the models, from all different backgrounds and featured their work in an innovative way.

Not only was there a wearable art show and a runway challenge, but also a silent auction and a raffle. The auction and the prizes were impressive (the silent auction included a two-week holiday to Mexico!), enticing people to enjoy their time and spend some of their “lovely money.”

The intention of the Wearable Art show was not only to raise money, but also to bridge a gap between the visual art and performance communities, and between dancers and models.

Public Energy’s Artistic Director Bill Kimball told Arthur that the show was a way of “inciting creativity, as artists are challenged to make outfits out of unconventional materials.”

To get the audience revved up for the creative night, The Dream Players performed a glowing show, which incorporated both art and dance (the show was literally glowing – the stage was lit-up by neon paint and colours).

The Wearable Art catwalk included a range of performances. This included children who had designed their own outfits from recycled and non-conventional material, to models showcasing a designer’s creative work. Strutt Central Students’ kids and teens both created and modelled their pieces. It seemed like it took a lot of guts to strut down the catwalk at such a young age, but the models were unphased.

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For example, Isabelle Surette created a piece titled “Beauty in Bloom.” When asked what inspired her creation she said, “Spring, I love spring, so I did a spring dress. I loved the preparation of it. After you’ve been on the stage, you wish it could last forever. “

Another young model/designer, Elizabeth Larson, commented about her piece, “Hippie Chick”, “We just thought it’d be cool to have something poofy, so we decided bubble wrap.”

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The Runway Challenge included six performances, and was created by local designers and artists who had teamed up with a local business to create an outfit made from only the materials their company could provide. No fabric was allowed!

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Some of the most memorable performances included artist Wendy Trusler’s designs, who had teamed up with Pammett’s Flower Shop to create a very clever, very funny, sketch of a “tree man” (model David Russell) trying to entice a beautiful “flower lady” (model Alex Saul) with the sticks and flowers he had on his back.

Another artist, Vicky Paradisis, choreographed a fantastic show using materials from the Lakefield Pantry. Models Rachael Terrion, Shovaan Burke, and Alicia Evans slunk around the stage in a sultry manner in their gorgeous outfits made mostly out of coffee beans (that was a whole lot of coffee beans).

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Arthur’s own Tori Silvera turned the event into an “edible wearable art show” with a piece made from apple fruit leather. During the intermission, these ladies offered the fruit to audience members, which was a tasty bonus.

The atmosphere in the Market Hall was electric, in part due to Public Energy’s General Manager and emcee for the evening, Laurel Paluck. Her cheeky comments and enthusiastic personality was performance in itself.

The runway performances were sometimes slightly imperfect, which made them all the more enjoyable and entertaining. This further bridged the community by making the event accessible to all who were involved.

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Title of piece: Pennies to Heaven
Designer: Heidi Den Hartog
I had some friends last year who were in it and I came to the show last year and I thought it was great. So, I decided to do something this year. I’m a copper enamel artist, so it was right up my alley. The show was the same week as the demise of the penny, and I thought, bing, that’s what I’m going to do.

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Title of piece: Underwater Goddess
Designer: Ilona Peel
I would say it took about 36 hours to make this piece. I started with some PVC piping and some duct tape and that’s where it went.
My model, actually, we do interpretive dance together. She moves a lot like I do and we have that similar communication.