April E Clark
Arts and entertainment contributor

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January 23, 2014
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Fashion, fine art and fun in Carbondale

CARBONDALE — When Ross Montessori ESL teacher Andrea Harris began volunteering for the valley’s first fashion show of the year, she expected to be inspired by the creativity of youth.

“I knew the fashion show was going to be great,” she said. “The kids have impressed me with the amount of talent and creativity they have.”

Harris credits the valley’s influence on encouraging creativity within its youth through programs such as the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (CCAH) fashion shows for both kids and adults.

“It has really been a joy to see the kids so happy and excited to display their lines,” Harris said. “And to show the hard work they have put into their performances.”

Harris also knew she would find inspiration in her teaching colleague Rochelle Norwood, the show’s director. Harris said she is continually impressed to see Norwood make such a positive impact on the community-built youth arts project.

“Rochelle is amazing. She really has worked far beyond the call of duty to make this event spectacular,” Harris said. “Her passion for the arts is respectable and admirable.”

Harris said when Norwood isn’t balancing her time as a mother, baker and art teacher at Carbondale’s Montessori school, she works countless hours to help the valley’s youth put on a successful fashion show, now in its third year.

“For the sake of everyone else,” Harris said. “She’s amazing and thanks to her, we will have a great show for the public this weekend.”

The Cirque d’Sopris show, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26, at the Roaring Fork High School auditorium, showcases youth hand-designed and sewn fashion creations. Along with fashion-forward costumes and choreography, Cirque d’Sopris will feature singing, acrobatics and live music at intermission by local youth band The Brink.

“So many kids are coming up with new and exciting acts to include in the show,” Norwood said.

A spin-off of CCAH’s Green is the New Black fashion show, Cirque d’Sopris allows kids in a range of ages and talents to share their ideas with the community, said CCAH director Amy Kimberly.

“It is fantastic to watch kids who have been involved with CCAH fashion classes and events moving up as their talent grows,” she said. “Green is the New Black will be stage managed by a senior who has helped with the show for the last three years, Ticah Burrows. And one of our designers, Chloe Brand, is a designer whose work is professional yet she is still in high school.”

Kimberly said audiences can expect a show of professional caliber from not only the clothing designers and models but also the talent in the show.

“The intermission is going to be as exciting as the show with unicyclists, puppets and a band,” she said.

You show it well

In its 34th year, CCAH continues to artistically welcome 2014 with the annual Valley Visual Art Show. The show opened this week and now hangs though March 7 at CCAH’s R2 Gallery at Third Street Center, 520 S. Third St.

“The new year brings a flurry of deep creativity at CCAH, and it just gets more exciting every year,” Kimberly said. “We are seeing so many different folks, from different walks of life and culture, come together to create.”

The Valley Visual Art Show highlights more than 60 Roaring Fork artists who work in media including sculpture, oil, acrylic, watercolor, mono prints, clay prints, photography and multimedia. Kimberly said the quality of work improves with each Valley Visual show, which typically draws a loyal following.

“This is one of our biggest-selling shows, so we hope folks who want to support local artists come on out and pick out something they love,” Kimberly said. “We are seeing many new faces and work.”

The community art show includes two- and three-dimensional pieces by a variety of the valley’s most heralded visual artists. A select number of the show’s works also hang in Bonfire Coffee on Main Street. The Valley Visual show began in 1980 as a venue for local artists to share their artwork with the public.

“The show still provides this opportunity, especially for artists new to the area and budding artists, but the show has also become both a salute to the wide variety of artistic talents in our area and a time to bring the artist community together,” Kimberly said. “Every year we are surprised by all the new talent that walks through the door, and touched by all the artists that return year after year to be a part of this community show.”

Gallery visitors may vote for the Valley Visual People’s Choice Award. R2 Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

“It is fantastic to watch kids who have been involved with CCAH fashion classes and events moving up as their talent grows.”
CCAH director Amy Kimberly


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 23, 2014 10:48PM Published Jan 23, 2014 10:48PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.