BY LENNIE BENNETT
Times Art Critic
An eccentric, edgy fundraiser more commonly associated with small alt-art galleries has become a long-running hit at the Dunedin Fine Art Center, known and loved for its educational programs and studio classes?
That would be Wearable Art, now in its ninth year and returning Saturday, a fashion show that in the past has featured partial nudity and clothes made from rusting metal and raw meat.
"I started working here that summer right before the first Wearable Art," said Ken Hannon, associate executive director at the center. "And I had great faith in it. Everyone thought we should just print 150 tickets but I said, 'No, I'm printing 400.' And we sold them."
Now the tickets are tiered, with general admission at $20 and premium reserved seats for $35 and $75. By the time you read this, the reserved tickets will probably be gone since they historically sell out early.
The concept has never been to shock. It challenges area artists and designers to be creative in translating their artistic aesthetic into garments. The definition of "garment" is sometimes stretched, and few of the designs are made to be real clothing. (That's pretty much how haute couture works as well.) So, as Hannon says, it's essentially a lot of fun, which is why he thinks it has remained so popular with a broad demographic that ranges from teens to seniors.
This year, the lineup has new and returning artists including Rocky Bridges, Rogerio Martins, Julian Hartzog, Lina Teixeira, Neva the Diva, Melissa Dolce, Eve Kuczynski, Alice Ferrulo, Johnny Hunt, Mark Byrne and the Garden Fairies. One gallery at the center will be devoted to an installation by Kate Cummins based on dress patterns.
The preparty begins at 7 p.m. and the runway show launches at 8:30. An after-party features live music by the Plush Monsters, an indie/folk-rock group from Orlando.
Lennie Bennett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8293.