What do old magazines, bottle tops, tinsel from last season’s Christmas tree and empty juice cartons have in common? Those recycled materials are the components of high fashion to students attending “Trashing Fashion” camp at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs. Summer campers ranging in ages from nine to eleven spent a week of summer afternoons, creating “Ecouterre” masterpieces that would make Jean Paul Gaultier chartreuse with envy.
Bonita Charter School art teacher Stacey Strell created the idea for “Trashing Fashion” while leading a peer counseling leadership class for eighth grade students. “The students really wanted to promote recycling at their school and Project Runway happened to be running an episode on using recycled materials,” offers Stacey. “The project just took off from there.”
Fourteen campers spent their first day brainstorming with Stacey on their design concepts. “I asked them to think about what they had at home and what materials we had on hand,” explains Stacey. “I wanted them to think about fashion as another way to express their individuality. I also wanted them be conscious that great fashion did not have to cost a lot of money or have a negative effect on the environment.”
A pillbox hat made from an orange juice carton fashioned to a headband and a dress made completely from paint sample swatches were a direct result of Stacey’s ability to draw out the individual vision and style from each of her students. “The girls never wanted to take a break, they were so excited about the process,” adds Stacey. “The students were completely responsible for every aspect of the creative process, including designing their outfits and picking the music and theme for their fashion show at the end of the class.”
Chairs full of excited parents and campers lined the lighted runway that ran down the center of the main gallery at Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs. Attendees were greeted by CFABS performing Arts Director Craig Price, dressed in a garbage can and acting as the MC for the “Trashing Fashion” show. Smoke billowed onto the stage as the first of fourteen Designer/Models strutted her recycled individuality down the catwalk. “They came up with the smoke machine and using the garbage cans and recycle bins as stage props,” explains Stacey. Each of the students also wrote the descriptions of their recycled masterpieces on a cue card for the MC to read. As Amanda Oleska strode down the runway Craig Price read her design description to the audience, “My name is Amanda, and I’m eleven-years old. My dress is made out of duck tape, recycled fabric and paint samples. My bracelet is made out of straws.”
“The really nice thing about the class is that the girls gain so much confidence about who they are because they really have to make a commitment to their vision,” offers Jordan Smith, Youth Education Director at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs. “One student actually collected 1,500 can tabs to create her outfit.” Jordan suggests that students check out similar classes that are being held throughout the summer at CFABS. Eco is Green and Over the Top and Under Construction are both courses that explore using recycled and alternative materials in art. The not to be missed Steamroller Art Week begins on July 25, 2011 offering print making classes for children six and up as well as adults. The Culmination of this week is the ridiculously cool, print making in the parking lot with the help of an actual Steamroller driven by Jordan Smith.
For a full list of summer camp classes call 239-495-8989 or visit on-line at http://www.artcenterbonita.org
You don’t have to be a member to enjoy all of the activities at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs. Those who want to become members receive discounts on classes, shows and other events. Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2011 will receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class to be used by December 31, 2011. The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members. Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.
WHAT: Trashing Fashion – Summer Camps at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
WHEN: 9am -4pm now through August 19, 2011
WHERE: The Center for the Arts of BonitaSprings, 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs,Florida
FEE: Varies by Camp Class
INFORMATION: 239-495-8989 or www.artcenterbonita.org