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Animalia: Wearable Arts Performance

Every year Bunnell Street Arts Center enriches our schools, providing hands-on workshops in art, dance, drama, writing and music by trained Teaching Artists for Artist in Schools (AIS), a trademark program of Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA). Bunnell has provided AIS for fifteen years. Support comes from ASCA, Rasmuson Foundation, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Alaska USA, Kim Terpening’s Farmer’s Market earnings and Jazzline. Now that Jazzline has ended, we seek new forms of support to sustain and grow this important program. Across the nation, Artist in Schools programs have been linked to improved academic performance and student engagement, diminished juvenile delinquency and increased community vibrancy.

This fall, with a grant from from Homer Foundation, Bunnell presented a new theme project for individuals, artists, teachers and students to work collaboratively on an intergenerational wearable art show, “Animalia.” This theme featured costumes about animals real or imagined. Homer Fiber Arts Collective artists lead free community Costume Labs at Bunnell, to assist and support locals of all ages to create costumes. Bunnell sponsored trained Teaching Artists in Artist in Schools units supporting this theme. These workshops all converged at Animalia, a live performance and wearable arts showcase on October 24 at the Mariner Theater. AKU-MATU and Skywalker Payne were featured performers. Choreographer, Peggy Paver collaboratively designed movement for performing artists to enliven costumes and masks.

A huge thank you to Homer for supporting Animalia! Thank you Fireweed students, Kiki Abrahamson, and Teaching Artist and Kara Clemens. Thank you Homer Middle School mask makers, teacher Ingrid McKinstry and Teaching Artist Melisse Reichman.  Thank you Homer High School artists, teacher, Alayne Tetor and Teaching Artist Ann Margret Wimmerstedt. Thank you Peggy Paver, Homer fiber artists, models/movers, performing artists, makeup artists, dressers and hair stylists for your talents as volunteer participants. My greatest gratitude to Bunnell’s staff, Kammi, Adele and Michael for providing the backbone support for this project.

If we had to purchase all this expertise, Animalia would have cost more than $10,000 to produce. Thanks to a grant from the Homer Foundation, and the in-kind support of Homer High School for the use of Mariner Theater, most of the ticket sales will support Artist in Schools this school year.

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