“Yellow Jacket” by Kathryn Grant Griffin, modeled by Sharyl Pels, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

“Yellow Jacket” by Kathryn Grant Griffin, modeled by Sharyl Pels, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Alaska Airlines objects to ‘turbulence’ theme for fashion show

Wearable Art 2019 changes name to Tailwinds after sponsor complaint

Wearable Art Extravaganza 2019 made a change before coming in for landing.

The annual fashion show slated for Saturday, Feb. 16 and Sunday, Feb. 17 at Centennial Hall, ditched its previous theme and title “Wearable Art 2019: Turbulence,” in favor of “Wearable Art 2019: Tailwind.”

Alaska Airlines, an event sponsor, suggested the change at the last minute because of turbulence’s negative connection to air travel.

“It came to our attention that turbulence perhaps isn’t positive when connected to an airplane,” said Nancy DeCherney, Executive Director for Juneau Arts & Humanities Council. “We thought about what we could do to ameliorate the situation.”

[Turbulence shapes Wearable Art 2019]

“Alaska Airlines felt like it was positive, all our board members thought it was positive,” DeCherney said of the name change to Tailwind. “Let’s get past the turbulence, let’s rise 30,000 feet. I feel like it’s a nice change.”

Alaska Airlines Seattle Drill Team will be featured as the opening act for both the Saturday and Sunday Wearable Art shows. Alaska Airlines also donated $25,000 to the JAHC in December along with more than $25,000 in travel credit. Haight & Associates are also sponsors for the fashion show.

“From our side of the house, tailwinds are much more favorable than turbulence,” said Tim Thompson, spokesperson for Alaska Airlines. “We’re happy to be part of this.”

DeCherney said a break from “turbulence,” generally speaking, would be appreciated.

A piece in last year’s Wearable Art show drew criticism for cultural appropriation. The backlash drew a public apology from the JAHC board, a series of public meetings to discuss cultural sensitivity and suggested guidelines for this year’s show.

“Tailwind is a very positive thing when you’re flying, and it’s also a very uplifting thing,” DeCherney added. “Frankly, I’m tired of all the turbulence.”

The name change was announced by the arts and humanities council Monday.

“Naturally, it came abruptly, and the artists were taken by surprise,” DeCherney said.

However, she said the most drastic changes will be seen on the event’s posters. Wearable Art pieces don’t have to match the year’s theme.

“We have never required the artists to hit the theme,” DeCherney said. “I’d imagine we’ll find some things on the runway that are still referencing turbulence, and that’s just fine.”

[Seven stories that shaped Juneau arts in 2018]

Tickets, please

Ticket sales opened Tuesday morning.

Tickets typically go fast, but tickets for both days haven’t sold out yet.

“We haven’t sold out either Saturday or Sunday.” DeCherney said. “There are quite a few for Sunday.”

While sell-outs for both days are common, tickets for the Sunday show usually sell more slowly than the Saturday night show.

Despite what ticket sales would suggest, DeCherney said in her opinion, Sunday is usually the stronger showing.

“Frankly, the Sunday show is often the better performance,”DeCherney said. “The artists are well-practiced, and they’re confident.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center box office, online at jahc.org or by calling (907)586-2787.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


“Yellow Jacket” by Kathryn Grant Griffin, modeled by Sharyl Pels, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

“Yellow Jacket” by Kathryn Grant Griffin, modeled by Sharyl Pels, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

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