Transforming the normal to the extravagant: STRUTT 2014

With exams quickly approaching, assignments coming up and the colder weather creeping in, November can seem all too structured and lifeless. Keeping to deadlines and maintaining a practical system is perfect for sticking to goals and getting work done, but it’s important to not get too bogged down in an otherwise dismal environment. You have to let loose, have fun and remove yourself from the stress for a while. In terms of what there is to look forward to in the coming months, there is no better way to dismiss life’s grievances than by attending the STRUTT Wearable Art Show.

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Immerse yourself in Niagara’s cultural event of the year with the largest wearable art show in Canada. This year’s STRUTT will take place on Nov. 22, and is sure to be an exciting and colourful evening full of surprises, so make sure to get your tickets and prepare for an evening of socializing, dancing, indulgence and celebration of Niagara’s art community.

STRUTT is presented by the Niagara Artist’s Centre (NAC) in collaboration with Suitcase In Point (SIP), a vibrant theatre company based out of St. Catharines composed of a handful of Brock Dramatic Arts graduates with the desire to bring about a strong presence of theatre arts in Niagara.

Annie Wilson is the General Manager of SIP and is helping to co-direct STRUTT with Deanna Jones, the Artistic Director. Both were at this past Saturday’s fitting in the warehouse which is a part of the W.S. Tyler factory. The business has lent the warehouse to host the event which offers a perfect and spacious venue to hold a large group of people giving it that “industrial” feeling.

At the fitting, the artists had the chance to meet some of the models that will be displaying their pieces in the runway show. Wilson and Jones oversaw that the day ran smoothly and that all the pieces were tried on by a number of models to make sure each work of art was displayed as well as possible. They will be working diligently up to and including Nov. 22 to see that the event is a spectacular representation of the creativity and work from everyone involved.

“The fittings are always neat because sometimes the pieces are so much bigger and bolder than expected. The artists bring their pieces in and as you see them you can kind of see how they can be performed in the show,” said Wilson.

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Wilson has been involved with STRUTT for a number of years and this is her fourth year of being involved in directing the events with Jones. In past years, Wilson has submitted a meat dress (pre-Lady Gaga, mind you) and an outfit entirely constructed of cabbage.

“This year it’s guaranteed to be a little bit bolder and a little bit crazier because we’re learned to improve it every year,” said Wilson. “It’s a great celebration of a very vibrant arts community.”

The old vacant warehouse building at T.S. Ltd. on Ontario Street in St. Catharines will hardly be recognizable, after it is transformed into a colourful and exciting one night vacation for artists and the community alike. It is expected that there will be 1500 people at the event this year, a stark contrast to the first event which brought out roughly 100 attendees.

“Every year is different and that’s why it’s awesome,” said STRUTT model Tiffany Howes. “This year it’s going to be a lot more musical which is crazy because we always have the live band element, but there’s going to be even more of a focus on that this time.”

After completing a visual arts degree at Brock University, Howes has also been involved in STRUTT for four years.  The first year she participated, she submitted and wore her own work and since then has been a model in the show, displaying the work of the other artists.

“It gets people excited. Sometimes art functions can seem inaccessible, especially for people who aren’t always involved in art but I don’t think that’s a reflection of the NAC or Niagara. It’s silly and goofy and it’s something that anyone can enjoy,” said Howes.

Though the evening is centred around the runway show, STRUTT is all about different mediums of art colliding, and people from all different demographics coming together for an evening of celebration and camaraderie. You don’t have to be an artist to attend the event. This is a cultural experience that is both a perfect excuse to dress up and to do something different on a Saturday night that you’ll remember for a long time.

Ask anyone who has been to or been involved in STRUTT before and a few words come to mind: crazy, funny, overwhelming and amazing.

Deanna Jones, Creative Director of STRUTT and has seen the amount of work that has gone into this show and is excited for yet another year of original artwork to go with the highly anticipated evening.

“What makes this event so important to Niagara is the realization of so many different people. The wineries, the business people, the food vendors, the artists, the volunteers. All of these aspects have helped this to grow,” said Jones.

“It’s a wild spectacle like no other in the city or in Niagara. Politicians, the Mayor, business people, so many different demographics come to this event. It’s a great excuse to dress up, there’s music and dancing and there will be surprises for the audience throughout.”

STRUTT is the perfect opportunity to break away from the monotony of life for a night and explore just a small but incredible portion of the artistic community in St. Catharines. It’s an evening of transformation for not only the space and the people putting the show together, but for the lucky ones who get to watch the spectacle as the event unfolds.

It will be a very exciting evening with a lot to boast so make sure to get your tickets.  Student tickets are available for $25 and can be purchased at the Centre for the Arts box office as well as at the Niagara Artists Centre located at 354 St. Paul St. in downtown St. Catharines.

For more information about the event, and to see past STRUTT events visit struttwearableartshow.ca or find the event on Facebook and on Instagram @STRUTTWearableArtShow. You can also visit the Niagara Artists Centre at nac.org

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