Wearable Art show celebrates 10 years with 'Cirque de Pluie'

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Juneau's most fashionable art event of the year is celebrating its 10th anniversary this Valentines Day weekend.

Juneau Empire
Juneau Empire

The 10th annual Wearable Art Extravaganza will be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday at Centennial Hall. This year's theme is "Cirque de Pluie."

"My daughter tells me it is ungrammatical French, but it's a play on Cirque du Soleil, so this is 'Circus of Rain,'" said Nancy DeCherney, executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. "So that's where we're going - into the rain."

The event has grown over the past decade into one of Juneau's most beloved artistic events of the year, she said.

"What I think is the most fun about this is the creativity that it seems to unleash in people you know," DeCherney said. "It's a real opportunity for everyday normal people and artists. It just seems to bring out the wackiness and creativity in people."

The event goes far beyond a regular fashion show, blending all sorts of artistic expression into wearable designs, she said.

"This is amazingly different," DeCherney said. "It's not a fashion show really. The audience gets involved and it brings out the community."

It takes an incredible amount of coordination and planning to pull the show off, and this year is no exception, she said. There will be 32 acts this year for each show, which is expected to last about 2 hours.

"There are close to 200 volunteers that go into making this event work. It's an amazing community effort," said DeCherney, and includes volunteer emcees, set handlers, models and clean up crew. "It's a huge list of people. It is really nice. It's really nice to see the community come out."

Some familiar artists will once again have pieces in this year's show, including Dave Walker who has taken his wood creations on to the world wearable art stage.

"There will be some pretty remarkable pieces," DeCherney said. "Because it's a circus sort of theme there will also be some circus performances there."

The audience will also have a better chance this year to see the individual pieces up close this weekend. The models will be displaying the pieces in the lobby following the shows, DeCherney said.

"Usually they are just on the runway and you don't get that sense when sitting back," she said. "When you see them up close, it's even more amazing than on the runway."

The Saturday and Sunday shows will each have its own silent auction and the proceeds will go toward funding the arts in Juneau. Proceeds from the Saturday show and auction will go toward the scholarships and individual artist grants funds. Proceeds from the Sunday show and auction will go to support renovations at the JACC.

This year's emcees will be Andy Kline and Katie Bausler.

Tickets are nearly sold out for the Saturday show but people are welcome to put their names on a waiting list beginning at 7 p.m.; some are expected to get in. There are still plenty of seats available for the Sunday show, DeCherney said, which would make a good Valentines Day event that will be over in time for people to still go out for a romantic dinner.

"It seems to me the folks come and just have a real good time, both on the runway and off it," she said.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.

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