“Art couture” might be an understatement at the upcoming (icon)cept fashion show at Art Center Sarasota. The event was created to coincide with the three-part icons & idols art show, but quickly grew into its own animal. The Art Center asked 25 artists, mostly local, to try their hand at clothing design and (surprise, surprise) they came up with some highly off-the-wall outfits.
Lisa Berger, co-chair for the fashion show and a board member at the center, says the show was originally created to help raise money and promote the Art Center to a younger audience. “Nobody’s giving to arts organizations these days,” says Berger, “so we decided we better do something to raise awareness and bring new, fresh blood into the center — to get away from the stigma that it’s a bunch of old ladies sitting in the back painting in watercolor classes.”
The artists who made clothes for the show were specifically invited, and Berger says the goal was to challenge them. The first idea was to have everything made from recycled goods, but Berger decided to place no limits: “The artists just took it and ran with it.” The center mixed it up with young and old, photographers, sculptors, painters and every medium between. Jeff Schwartz and David Amos made graphic Ts and pants, Art Center education director Daniel Petrov made a shower-curtain dress, Joseph Arnegger did an overhaul on an old prom dress, and many artists contributed jewelry, handbags, hats and other accessories.
Ray Peper, owner of John Carl Salon, made 18 items in the show. “He’s been over the deep end,” says Berger. “He just had lung surgery like a month ago and he’s just been going wild. This whole thing has been a recovery for him. He made the most outrageous stuff and he’s modeling in the show too. Their group is going to be the finale.” Xuxu the drag queen (you know, from drag queen bingo) will MC the event, so you can expect the diva-est commentary around. Six restaurants will be setting up food booths and, of course, Szambelan vodka has created a special “icon-tini.”
Berger made sure to point out that this event is ultimately to help artists. “We want to promote the artists, too. That’s what it’s all about,” she says. “We want to create awareness for the local talent we have here and showcase them. They’re having a hard time. Nobody’s buying art, so we want to get them some publicity.”
This outrageous runway spectacle will strut through Art Center Sarasota 7-10 p.m. Thurs., March 19. Tickets are $20 for members, $30 for non-members and $15 for students. Show up in style and dress chic.