arm to Fashion is a public art challenge exhibit created by the Loudoun Arts Council, Loudoun Economic Development, and Franklin Park Arts Center to forge new connections between the agriculture and arts communities in Loudoun County. As part of the Rural Economic Development Council’s “Loudoun VA Grown, Loudoun VA Made” initiative, F2F worked to raise public awareness of the rich resources — both cultural and agricultural — in this part of Virginia.
Artists were challenged to create a work of “agri-couture” sculpture using products and equipment sourced from Loudoun’s farms and agricultural businesses. Mannequins were created with one of a kind ceramic faces made by Loudoun artist Amy Manson. The scarecrow-like figures included stable apple crate bases so artists could display their creations for this unusual fashion show (some artists created their own mannequins for the challenge).
Loudoun’s farms and agricultural businesses contributed the raw materials used to create the sculptures, from baling twine to irrigation tape, from wool roving to wine barrel staves, from grape vines to pumpkin seeds. Each artist created an initial proposal, and their concepts evolved throughout the summer as the pieces were actually created. The proposals were displayed alongside the finished pieces to demonstrate how the creative process works. The pieces reflect different ideas about the idea of “Fashion” including practical garments and wildly imaginative tableaux.
This show was originally exhibited at Franklin Park Arts Center in Purcellville, Virginia in October 2017. Farm to Fashion was met with an enthusiastic response from hundreds of visitors. In response, the Loudoun Arts Council and Rural Economic Development Council are planning new joint initiatives to bring Loudoun’s artists and farmers together.