ARTwear marks milestone with top designers, talented students

By Christina Kuntz, Calgary Herald November 6, 2012

2012 11 06 CH Artwear

It began as a fun way to raise money for programs at The Art Gallery of Calgary.

Ten years later, Elizabeta Liguric says ARTwear has become one of the gallery’s biggest events.

“It really has grown,” says the manager of development at the gallery.

“We’ve had such great support from the community, and every year we try to do something different and stretch our limits by doing something creative that we haven’t done before.”

This year, Liguric says they plan to mark the 10-year-anniversary of their annual fashion fundraiser with a special celebration on Thursday night.

As with previous years, they’ll be showcasing the work of students from the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), who have created wearable art designs around this year’s ARTwear theme – vintage Hollywood.

But Liguric says this is the first time those designs will be featured on the main runway at Hotel Arts.

“We’ve been collaborating with ACAD for six years,” says Liguric, “and we wanted to switch things up a bit and try to showcase the students more this year.

“Fashion is a form of expression and it’s definitely an art form, and these students use a lot of different materials and come up with some really innovative forms of art.”

As well as featuring those designs on the runway, the gallery also decided to bring in some top Calgary designers for this year’s ARTwear.

Paul Hardy and Lara Presber will be presenting their latest collections, along with styles from local boutiques including Mealan Women’s Finery, Leo Boutique, Coco + Violet and Henry Singer.

Presber, whose studio combines fashion, architecture and interior design, is a big supporter of the arts and says she was happy to take part in this year’s special show.

“I really believe in what the art gallery is doing, especially now,” says Presber.

“This year, there’s so much more awareness of the arts (with Calgary) being the cultural capital of Canada, and Calgary is really on the international radar, so I think it’s important to find ways to be on the map for cultural, educational, and art-based programs, as opposed to just our international notoriety for oil and gas.”

In addition to a sneak peek of her upcoming summer collection, Presber will be showing designs from her fall collection, which was inspired by The Bow building.

Featuring structured and asymmetrical styles and an emphasis on the colour navy, the collection has a classic, “1940s Paris” feel that Presber says fits in well with ARTwear’s vintage Hollywood theme.

“Classic is always in style,” she says. “It transcends different fashion movements or trends.”

Though the focus of the fundraiser is to celebrate the art of fashion, Liguric says there is more to ARTwear than beautiful designs and a fun night out.

The purpose of the event is to raise money for the gallery’s art education programs, and the night will also include a silent auction featuring prizes that range from sports items to an astronaut-training experience.

“This event allows us to expand our art education programs,” says Liguric.

“We have an in-house school where we can host children, and we have educators and teachers that come in for workshops. We also have an outreach program, which means that our teachers go to the schools and they do their art workshops there.

“Currently, we’re looking to find ways to provide transportation for schools that can’t afford to come to the gallery. So we’re hoping that with the money we raise from this year’s fundraiser, we can somehow sponsor those schools and get more kids into the gallery.”

ARTwear will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Hotel Arts (119 12th Ave. S.W.).

Doors open at 7: 30 p.m. and tickets are available at For more information on the event, go to


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