POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2012:
Through a Child's Eye
A week of artistic education, both in and out of school
Geez. You give a guy like Matt Moffett the chance to make a difference in some kids' lives, and damn, he sure takes it seriously.
Moffett is the executive director and founder of Tulsa Girls' Art School, which exists to bring visual arts training to underserved, elementary school girls. Like pretty much any arts undertaking, it needs money to function, and it never has enough.
"This is our annual fundraiser," he began. "We're having it at the Crystal Ballroom at the Mayo. Our event this year is all about fashion, so we wanted to have a beautiful, historical, swanky place, and the crystal ballroom is a great fit."
And "fit" was surely an intended pun. Why? Because what began as a sketching assignment last year now blossoms into realizations of those sketches.
"I had our girls do a sketching exercise and I said, 'Let's pretend you have an arts show at the Louvre in Paris. What would you wear?'" Moffett said.
After collecting the sketches, Moffett started thinking about a next step.
"We hung these sketches up on the wall and our board was like, 'How can we take this a step further?'" he said. "We found 10 local designers who came and made 12 of those sketches. We've got designers from people who just graduated from Clary Sage to a renegade guy who taught himself how to sew to a designer who handcrafts the costumes for the Tulsa Opera."
Not content to stop at this amazing thing, Moffett and friends continued.
"So then we went a step further and took the 12 girls who got chosen and set up a photo shoot. And Marilyn Ihloff herself came with a stylist to make them up," he said.
What Ihloff and the designers have given these girls -- and by extension, Tulsa -- is our very own Bryant Park.
"So what you'll see here will be the dresses on mannequins, and the girls will be there, and you can bid on a version of that gown custom-made for you by that designer," he said. So there's the fundraising part. However, remember that these girls are in elementary school, so this has got to be one of the coolest things that's ever happened. Hell, I'm 43 and I'm pretty damned excited.
The focus of the evening is a silent auction in which bidders will vie for the chance to have one of the dresses made for them, so it's a win-win-win: somebody gets a one-of-a-kind dress, a kid has something super cool happen, and TGAS gets some funding. Doesn't that make you feel good?
And what TGAS does with the funds is a lot more than just teach kids to draw dresses.
"This summer, we've been studying fashion, and I got to take my girls to the AIC and see their fashion school," Moffett said. "We got to see their students sewing and open up these girls' minds to the fact that you don't have to just be a painter. You can be an artist and be a fashion designer and be an artist."
Sounds like someone is actually giving these kids an education, and that's pretty awesome.
COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET
TGAS is in its sixth year, so this annual fundraiser is beginning to pick up some steam. So much so, in fact, that they've already raised more than $70,000, and Moffett is immensely grateful.
"The city of Tulsa has done so much for us," he said. With support from the corporate likes of the Williams Company and Bank of Oklahoma, it would seem the whole city wished the TGAS kids well.
"We love Tulsa," he said. "The people of our village have embraced us."
"Through A Child's Eye," TGAS's 5th annual fundraiser, will be held at the Mayo Hotel's Crystal Ballroom on Thurday night. More information resides at tulsagirlsartschool.org.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Choregus Productions brings Complexions, a modern ballet company that relies as much on athleticism as art. It's pretty terrific to look at. Think of the first time you saw Brad Pitt in Troy. Yeah, lots of people in this company look like that.
And then they dance.
The company comes to Tulsa from New York to premiere a work called The Curve, and while there are many unusual and/or interesting things about this piece, it is perhaps the music that might prove most fascinating.
One expects violins and orchestral music at the ballet. Maybe you get a little bit of electronica if you see something like Stewart Coopeland's Prey, but the music for The Curve may be more accurately described as a soundscape.
Choregus' programming director Ken Tracy listed several elements in the score of the show, including samples, percussion and the like.
"Ambient textures lay the ground floor for this energetic soundscape," he said.
The Curve is an abstract work, so we won't be seeing the adventures of Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella. Rather, the show more accurately riffs on the theme of evolution.
According to press materials, the dance presented depicts how our surroundings, our ideas, and ourselves progress through that single constant in everyone's lives, change.
Complexions artistic directors Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have some cred to back up what they bring, to be sure. While you may not know their names, you more than likely have seen their work, as they are regular choreographers for ABC's So You Think You Can Dance.
Rhoden and Richardson bring The Curve to the Helmerich Performing Arts Center at 2600 S. Utica Ave. at Cascia Hall Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.
Tickets range from $30 to $50, and more information about Complexions, Choregus, and "The Curve" can be found at choregus.org or by phone at 918-688-6112.
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