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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 05/02/12
HATS OFF. Seen above is the work of Kimberly Andert, a South Bend, IN artist. She, along with other artists, are submitting art and other works inspired by "Alice in Wonderland" for the Starkweather Arts Center's upcoming show, "Mad Hatter's Tea Party," running May 4-26.
(Photo by Starry Night Photography)
Step into Wonderland at
Starkweather Arts Center
by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
Explore how deep the rabbit hole goes when artists submit work inspired by "Alice in Wonderland" for Starkweather Arts Center's May show.
The "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" juried art exhibit opens May 4 with a reception from 7-9 p.m., with the show running until May 26.
The show will also have special events taking place to tie in with the Victorian Festival on May 19.
Kristin Barr, director of the Starkweather Arts Center, said the "Alice in Wonderland" theme was inspired by the Romeo area's Victorian Festival as well as from the center's own history.
Before it was the art center, the gallery was a millinery that belonged to the mother of Helen Starkweather, the gallery's namesake.
Hats were made in the store for years, some dating back to the 1850s, that will be on display.
"With `Alice in Wonderland' being the style that it was, I think it was perfect for the Victorian Festival," Barr said. "We can tie in our antique hats with new hat designs."
Two-dimensional art will be the main medium of the family-friendly show, but three-dimensional artists will tip their hats and cakes as well.
Kimberly Andert of South Bend, Ind. has been sewing since she was 8 years old, but started entering her fabric artwork into shows since 2005.
In keeping with Starkweather's theme, she is submitting four hats she made to Starkweather's upcoming show. Three will be on display while one will be in the juried show.
"A lot of galleries won't show anything fiber-related because they don't consider what I do as an art," Andert said. "It's a big stigma I've had to fight through, so if I can find a place to enter, it's great for me."
She said she likes using materials from antique or vintage items, buying or receiving items in thrift stores to re-use in her work. Her works can be anything from full outfits to hats or shoes.
In this case, she used a Victorian crazy quilt when making her Mad Hatter piece.
"For this piece, I thought of the whole history that had come before (the Mad Hatter), that each of his ancestors had their own style and each had their own hat they made themselves," she said. "The person before him made this hat."
Andert enjoys the theme of the show, saying it is not only open to interpretation, but can help draw in casual observers.
"It's more interesting for someone not really into art, it's easier to walk into a show and enjoy it because they can understand the theme," she said.
In addition to admiring hats, Mary Barnes, a local hat maker, will hold hat-blocking sessions at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on May 19.
Alongside the fabric art, another medium will be featured that isn't typically in museums. Sugar Art Cake and Candy Supplies is holding a competition where decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies will compete for best entry.
Lora Randles, owner of Sugar Art Cake and Candy Supplies, said judging will be held on May 4, but a people's choice award will allow visitors to pick their favorite on May 19.
"It is an art form," Randles said. "Instead of paint we use sugar as our medium, and it comes in different forms."
Barr said she is excited for the show, saying there has been a lot of buzz generated online as well as through word of mouth.
"I'm hoping to see a really good turnout for the opening," she said.
Starkweather Arts Center is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (586) 752-5700 or visit www.starkweatherarts.com.