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Night to Shine (and Sparkle!)

Tacoma School of the Arts students seek to inspire youth

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OK, like, everybody listen up because I’m about to tell you about the most amazing party at Tacoma Art Museum ever. It’s called “Night to Shine (and Sparkle!),” and it was planned for teens by teens. Here’s how it went down: Last October Tacoma Art Museum invited teens from Tacoma School District to join a special Teen Advisory Board. They wanted the straight scoop on what is cool and hip with the high school crowd so that their events will be, like, smokin’ hot. Students from Mt. Tahoma High School, Lincoln High School and Tacoma School of the Arts were totally in the house.

The mission statement for the Tacoma Arts Museum Teen Advisory board is: “Bringing access, inspiration, and appreciation for the Arts to Tacoma area youth through events, workshops and other programming. This group of young people from area high schools works to make art relevant in the lives of their peers.”

(Or whatever — it’s about capital F.U.N. people!)

Due to scheduling conflicts and other unforeseen circumstances only four core students from SOTA (Jessie Fouts, Brandy Sincyr, Sierra Wilmott and Ajanee Stanmore) are still on the advisory board now, but they have totally persevered to plan this event.

“At SOTA we are doing project groups and these four girls are in my group,” says Brendan Nelson, teacher at Tacoma School of the Arts. “Students are being graded on these projects. We were approached [about the advisory board] by Melissa Moffett, our community liaison.”

Everything about the event was designed and implemented by these four girls. They selected the acoustic musicians (fellow SOTA students) who will perform in the lobby. They recruited 20 models (both male and female) for the fashion show. They created the fashion ensembles to compliment the exhibit “Sparkle Then Fade,” which will be on display at the museum. They used the exhibit’s concept “What is Beautiful?” as inspiration. The fashion show will begin in the upstairs classroom at Tacoma Art Museum. The models will sashay down the stairs, strike a pose, and then go back up. The catch is, an “ugly” object, (like a toilet plunger), has to be incorporated into the outfit somehow.

The girls also planned a spoken word performance and open mic, which will be hosted by Mary Boone, a creative writing teacher from SOTA. The girls also handled the marketing and advertising. One aspect of their campaign is a totally rad art/fashion exhibit in the display window at urbanXchange, which is providing the clothes for the fashion show.

“We have a budget for it so they’ve also been learning about proper budgeting,” says Maija McKnight, Tacoma Art Museum community programs coordinator, “It’s their program entirely and I am more of a facilitator.” 

McKnight says that in the fall they will start taking applications from other Tacoma School District high school students who would like to join the board.

“We are looking for that very special student that is self motivated,” McKnight says.

The TAM Teen Advisory Board issued the following statement: “We would like to encourage all teens to come out and take part in the exhibit.”

[Tacoma Art Museum, Thursday, May 17, 6-8 p.m., no cover, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4258]

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