“Doragon” by Beth Bolander, modeled by Dani Gross, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Doragon placed third in the Juror’s Best in Show. It also drew criticism as cultural appropriation, which led to some guidelines for this year’s fashion show. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

“Doragon” by Beth Bolander, modeled by Dani Gross, at the Wearable Art Show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Doragon placed third in the Juror’s Best in Show. It also drew criticism as cultural appropriation, which led to some guidelines for this year’s fashion show. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Controversy leads to changes for 2019 Wearable Art fashion show

Sensitivity guidelines and originality clause part of introductory presentation

Turbulence is shaping Wearable Arts 2019.

The word is the theme for the 19th annual celebration of creativity.

“When life get turbulent, we want to go out and take a stand,” said Wearable Art director Margeaux Ljunberg. “Art can also be a way to help the audience escape.”

The word also has a personal connection to Ljunberg, as stated in her vision statement for Wearable Art 2019. She has motion sickness but attempts to embrace the turbulance during air travel in an effort to avoid cultivating fearfulness in her daughter and to pass on coping skills.

A turbulent response to elements of last year’s event also inspired some changes for this year, said organizers during Wearable Art introductory meeting Tuesday evening at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

There were many who felt a piece last year inspired by Asian art and culture was an example of cultural appropriation. The criticism led to a statement from the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council Board of Trustees, public meetings and now rule changes and suggested guidelines.

[Cultural inspiration or cultural appropriation?]

There is a new originality clause that requires submitted work be at least 85 percent unique creation and guidance for pieces that may be inspired by ethnic, racial or cultural heritage different from that of the artist.

Recommendations for artists included researching the culture that inspired the piece, consulting or collaborating with members of the inspiring culture, considering how art reflects the culture and the artist’s relationship with it and determining steps that will be taken to make sure there is a respectful and responsible collaboration.

Ljunberg and producer Meghan Chambers also advised participants raise any concerns about their piece and how it might be received early in the process.

“If you’re worried your piece could be controversial, get those conversations started,” Chambers said.

Another change for this year is a 30-entry cap on participants.

“This is in response to last year’s show creeping up to three hours, which was too much for everybody” Chambers said.

Registration for Wearable Art 2019 is currently open, and applications can be found online at: https://jahc.org/wearable-art-2019/

Applications must be turned in by 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1.

“We’re going to be sticklers about the deadline this year,” Ljunberg said.

Tickets for the show will go on sale for Juneau Arts & Humanities Council members Dec. 1 and to the general public Jan. 15.

Performances will be 8 p.m. Saturday Feb. 16 and 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 17 at Centennial Hall.


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


More in News

A sign on a city bus urges the use of face coverings, but following an ordinance passed by the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, all passengers will now be required to wear masks on buses and while using other city facilities. Friday, May 29, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Face coverings now required on buses, in city facilities

Masks will be provided for those who cannot afford them.

Juneau City Hall on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Finance committee votes to hold line on property tax

“Projects will still go on. Services will still go on.”

Police calls for Friday, May 29, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Thursday, May 28, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire 
                                Henry Williams runs from Douglas to the Mendenhall Valley on Memorial Day to honor dead service members, including his relative, Air Force Tech Sgt. Leslie Dominic Williams, who died in Afghanistan in 2011.
Memorial Day passes quietly amid coronavirus concerns, damp weather

People found their own ways to honor the hallowed dead.

Archie (center), Ella (left) and Arrow (right) enjoy the dog-friendly Field 2 in Melvin Park on April 26, 2020. The field, Dimond Park, and the grassy area on top of Gold Street are all closed to dogs indefinitely due to a rising amount of unremoved dog poop. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)
Poop piles pose problem for parks

Three areas are closed, and more may follow if behavior does not improve.

Most Read