By JEN RETTER ’16
Members of the Arcadia community packed into the Great Room on Oct. 9 to see their friends, classmates, and students model their artwork in the Fifth Annual Wearable Sculpture Show. After five weeks in the studio and the lecture hall examining the theme of “identity,” the students of Studio Art Foundations I donned their runway ready art pieces to present their interpretations of this year’s assignments: Alter Ego, Mask, and Alter-ed Ego.
“As with every year, the students were a little apprehensive when they first learned they would be making something they have to wear and display it in front of an audience. Once they get into the fabrication, though, I think that apprehension lessens; by the day of the show, deep down they want to show off what they have spent so much time thinking about and creating,” said Matthew Borgen, interim studio art foundations coordinator.
This year, Borgen organized the event alongside Scott Rawlins, professor of visual and performing arts, and adjunct professor Erica Prince, adjunct professor and a Foundations newcomer.
Many returning audience members were excited by the fresh perspectives, which were reflected in the students’ work. “This show was really different, said Emily Marchese ’16, who walked in last year’s show. “It was neat to see what the teachers did with their students.”
Though some of the professors and project assignments changed this year, the students’ dedication to this project remained the same. Artists such as Alexa Smythe ’17, who spent five weeks patiently crafting her alter-ego, “Amara the Creator,” with intricate segments of sketchbook paper, proved that executing these costumes is not a simple feat. Smythe described the creative process as “a lot of hours at night.”
Before the artists were able to dive into their looks, several of those late-night hours were spent searching for inspiration. “All of the students wrote backstories for their characters in order to understand their history, personalities, and point of view,” said Prince, who pushed her students to develop a complex alter-ego. “The back stories then informed the design decisions that they made for the wearable sculpture. Ultimately, this project makes students consider their own identity in relation to that of their fictional character.”
Inspiration came suddenly to Kristy Leone ’17, whose hand-painted ‘Queen of Broken Hearts’ was met with gasps and applause from the audience. “I was actually just playing cards with my brother, and we were trying to think of ideas. I came up with the idea of the Queen of Hearts, but I didn’t think that that was original enough. So I took inspiration from [my own] recent breakup, and made the ‘Queen of Broken Hearts.’”
When the long-awaited runway day came, the participants were tasked with transforming themselves from art students into art models. “This was definitely my first time [walking a runway.] It’s weird and interesting. You just have to travel with confidence and hope for the best,” said Arianna Kendra ’17, who stormed down the runway as “Titanium Girl.”
Considered a rite of passage by Arcadia’s aspiring artists, the Wearable Sculpture Show is bound to return to the Great Room next fall. Proud and inspired by this year’s turnout, Borgen said, “I was thrilled with the outcome of the show. It was gratifying to have so many former Foundations students and faculty members in the audience to see our students continuing what I think is a great tradition for our program.”