Ladies and gentlemen, start your creative engines.
The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council has announced the theme for the 2012 Wearable Arts Extravaganza, scheduled for Feb. 11 and 12 at Centennial Hall. The theme is “fusion.”
“Taboo” had been previously considered as a theme, following an informal vote at this year’s post-show artists’ party, but JAHC Executive Director Nancy DeCherney said that idea was eventually ruled out as being too one-dimensional and potentially limiting for younger artists.
In contrast, “fusion” offers many creative interpretations — artistic, scientific, musical, collaborative, even culinary.
As in previous years, the theme is intended as a jumping off place for artists, not as a limiting factor; artists can ignore it entirely if it doesn’t suit their creative vision.
For those unfamiliar with this event, the Wearable Art Extravaganza showcases local art designed to be worn on the human body. Part multi-media gallery opening, part performance piece, the show often features more than 25 hand-made creations, which are modeled on the runway during a completely unpredictable live show set to music.
Winners of the 2011 show, “Illuminate,” included “A Dress for All Seasons” (a complex dress rigged with lights that were synchronized with music), “Wrap It Up” (made from Costco plastic wrap) “Surprise Ending” (created from plastic bags).
Other JAHC themes have included “Going to Extremes,” “Solstice to Solstice,” “Mechanical Marvels” and “Cirque de Pluie.”
This year’s theme of fusion could be taken in many different directions. Merriam Webster defines the noun as follows:
(1) the act or process of liquefying or rendering plastic by heat;
(2) a union by or as if by melting, as: (a) merging of diverse, distinct, or separate elements into a unified whole; (b) a political partnership, coalition; (c) popular music combining different styles (as jazz and rock); (d) food prepared using techniques and ingredients of two or more ethnic or regional cuisines — called also fusion cuisine;
(3) the union of atomic nuclei to form heavier nuclei resulting in the release of enormous quantities of energy when certain light elements unite.
The local show, now in its 12th year, was inspired by the Montana World of Wearable Art, begun in Wellington, New Zealand in 1987, and now the top wearable art show in the world.
in 2009, local artist David Walker became the first foreign Supreme Award winner with his creation “Lady of the Wood,” a 17th century ball gown made entirely of wood. He also won an award in 2010 in the Gen-I Creative Excellence category for “Wood Wire and Fire.” Both pieces debuted in the Juneau’s shows, though the latter was altered before being entered in the New Zealand competition.
Proceeds from the Juneau show benefit JAHC scholarship programs and help underwrite operations.
The deadline for artist applications is Jan. 16. Entry forms are expected to be available online soon.
For more information, visit www.jahc.org.