Arts & Culture

April 11, 2013

Project RunAway at WSU’s McKnight Art Center will be a cross-sensory experience

Wearable art will be in vogue Friday night as the catwalk for Project RunAway expands to ambitious effect.

Wearable art will be in vogue Friday night as the catwalk for Project RunAway expands to ambitious effect.

Now in its sixth year, the fundraising extravaganza to support the operations of Wichita State University’s ShiftSpace Gallery has moved to the McKnight Art Center on WSU’s campus to accommodate a growing crowd and to allow for a cross-sensory experience. The event aims to gather creative forces from around the city as students compete in a multi-dimensional affair that is more like an art happening than an ordinary fashion show.

“It’s a real mix of art mediums,” said Lisa Rundstrom, ShiftSpace gallery director. “It’s dynamic. It’s different. It’s something that is creative, but it’s also just visually very dynamic. There’s a performance quality to it. It’s not just coming in and looking at art, it’s interacting with art.”

This year’s show will feature outrageous outfits from a record 42 entries. WSU students and alumni and area high school students will compete in four categories: Wearable Architecture, Materially Relevant, Cultural Commentary and Dark Matter (black-lighted attire).

Peter Pixie will serve as master of ceremonies, providing a circus-like jest for the event. Food from local eateries including Bella Luna, Picasso’s Pizzeria and Donut Whole will be available. Dance troupes, magicians and music will abound. The Luna Copii Quartet, an experimental jazz ensemble, will play at various intervals, and DJ Tommy Newbury, returning to Wichita from Portland, will host an after-hours dance party in the space.

“We’ve been hosting First Friday music events in the gallery and have been working to cultivate these relationships with musicians for the past year or so,” Rundstrom said. “We are really wanting to keep this as an inter-disciplinary event, drawing off our curriculum, something where we can take a part of it and create these art forms with it.”

This has been a change year for the event. In addition to a venue switch, WSU students can now attend for free, likely upping the already climbing attendance. Rundstrom said she always intended for the show to mature into a larger-scale production. The venue change allows for a three-story event, with most activity centered on the bottom floor of the McKnight atrium. There will be an audio/visual team filming and projecting the event onto the top floors, giving it a concert-like feel.

“There’s been a trend in art to move toward a cross-section of art, design and fashion,” Rundstrom said. “It pushes the limits of the materials.”

Originally organized by students in an intro to art class, Project RunAway now has been moved into sculpture as a 3-D design project. Proceeds from the event support the operations of the ShiftSpace Gallery, which has been a staple of student art, anchored near Old Town Square, for several years.

This fall, the gallery will move to Commerce Street, sharing the renovated space where Siva Yoga Studio now is housed. Rundstrom said the location, which will be between the Fiber Studio and Positive Directions, situates the gallery in an exciting and pivotal place.

She said the RunAway event itself has evolved into a celebration of the best in Wichita’s creativity and she hopes the community turns out to support the gallery as it makes this critical move.

“The type of vibe they’ll get is high-energy,” Rundstrom said. “You are looking at people who are taking risks and performing and doing it in an inter-disciplinary manner. People are working together across disciplines. This is also showing off a really strong sense of community. It showcases the best of Wichita.”

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