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Students prepare for Saturday’s Wearable Art Show
Ketchikan Charter School student Trinity Perkins models a pair of butterfly wings on Jan. 26 for the upcoming Wearable Art Show, while art teacher Halli Kenoyer gets help from students Matthew Godwin, obscured by wing, and Morgan Davis, re-inforcing a wing. Photo by Hall Anderson

Daily News Staff Writer

Ketchikan trains its artists at a young age. Trinity Perkins is an eighth-grader at Ketchikan Charter School, and she’s already had her work featured in the Wearable Art Show three times in her lifetime.

That number will soon rise to four during the 32nd annual event that’s slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Perkins and around 29 other students from KCS and Fawn Mountain Elementary School will take to the runway during the Saturday matinee that starts at 2 p.m. at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

Two groups of students from KCS, taught by kindergarten teacher Becky King and art teacher Halli Kenoyer, and one class taught by sixth-grade teacher Lori Orlowski from Fawn Mountain are participating this year. There are also a few individual youth artists that applied separately.

Perkins was in Kenoyer’s class on Jan. 26 in the morning working on her piece, which has an outer space vibe with a lot of different-colored glitter. Five people have been helping her on the project, which she will ultimately model on the runway in just a few days.

“My project is like this fairy queen … kind of like a galactic thing,” Perkins said.

To help her down the runway is a “groovy dance song,” a remixed version of “Move your body” by musician SIA. Perkins said creating the piece was enjoyable, and she’s pretty excited to get in front of the audience.

“I just like to see how people react to what I make,” Perkins said.

Other creations in Kenoyer’s class on Friday included butterflies, birds, an extravagant tail and a lot of wings. Orange, blue, yellow and black paint was spread out around the room, masking their projects created with bamboo stakes, gorilla tape and chicken wire.

“Everybody’s piece is telling a story,” Kenoyer said. “That’s part of their inspiration.”

Kenoyer said some of the students came into the class with ideas and drawings knowing they wanted to make a piece, but many aren’t making a piece — they’re her art directors, helping their peers bring their ideas to life for the past three weeks.

“What I would say about why we have such good costumes, and why the kids do such wonderful pieces is — we have a lot of support,” Kenoyer explained, adding the support comes from KCS Principal Julie McFarland, parents and students.

Another student artist in Kenoyer’s class is sixth-grader Emily Nelson, who was working with a partner to create a raven and dove piece. On Jan. 26, she was meticulously gluing multiple black feathers made of construction paper to the raven’s wings, which was being held together by a bunch of glue and chicken wire — which is a Wearable Arts staple for their teacher.

“It can be difficult when you’re currently doing it, but then when you step back and you look at it, it actually looks pretty cool,” Nelson said. “The feathers on the wings can be hard to do, but it also looks really, really good at the same time.”

Nelson thinks the Ketchikan community should come to the show because “it’s really unique” and they’ll get to see “a bunch of big pieces that kids got to make.” She added the students get to showcase their “creativity, designs and ideas.”

In Orlowski’s classroom on Monday after school, more of those designs and ideas could be seen — dragon wings crafted with hula hoop pieces by sixth-grader Shayla Christianson, a seashell crown created by sixth-grader Jenny Evans, an angler fish costume made by fifth-grader Leon Welty, a colorful peacock costume created by fifth-graders Divisha Jagtiani and Brenna Winder, and a jeweled unicorn outfit crafted by sixth-grader Chloe Guthrie.

Orlowski was awarded a grant from the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council for supplies, which helped fund the elaborate creations. Seven of her fifth through sixth-graders are participating in the Wearable Arts show this year.

“I usually just kind of let them choose where to go in whatever direction they like,” Orlowski said. “Our focus is, since it’s ‘Wild and Free,’ we’re talking about, like, air, land and sea creatures.”

One of those creatures is a black-capped chickadee outfit crafted by sixth-grader Jasmine Sanders. A black-capped chickadee is a North American songbird that lives in mixed forests.

What has gone into her costume?

“There’s foam, there’s like a construction hat, there’s chicken wire, normal wire and paint, so far,” Sanders said. “And then poster board. My dad is helping me by painting the beak at home, he’s at home today.”

Orlowski said the Wearable Arts show gives her students the chance to create art that they normally don’t get the chance to make.

“I think there are a lot of kids who also don’t normally know a lot about this show that’s a really huge part of our community,” Orlowski said. “I like giving them that experience, being able to be in it, but also at the show they get to see everyone else’s things.

“I think for some kids, it really inspires them to go on and do more art in the future. Art to me is really important, so I’m happy to do that.”