May 28, 2022

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Dress like a Boss

Fashion meets visual art at Gallery Hop event launching collaboration


Michelle Brandt, owner of Brandt-Roberts Galleries, and Yohannan "Yogi" Terrell, founder of the Columbus Fashion Alliance, came up with the idea for the "Fashion is Art" exhibit. On May 7, Columbus fashion designers and artists who have collaborated on pieces will begin sharing their work in Short North galleries.

Michelle Brandt, owner of Brandt-Roberts Galleries, and Yohannan “Yogi” Terrell, founder of the Columbus Fashion Alliance, came up with the idea for the “Fashion is Art” exhibit. On May 7, Columbus fashion designers and artists who have collaborated on pieces will begin sharing their work in Short North galleries.

Michelle Brandt of Brandt-Roberts Galleries and Yohannan “Yogi” Terrell, founder of the Columbus Fashion Alliance, have long been involved in Columbus’ art scene.

Both were on the Short North Alliance’s public art committee, and that shared interest has led to regular conversations around creative ways of spotlighting artists and engaging people with art.

One of those conversations recently was inspired by the work of Pittsburgh-based artist Gavin Benjamin, whose work is often displayed at Brandt-Roberts Galleries in the Short North. His work sits at the intersection of media, history and fashion, which got Brandt and Terrell thinking about combining their own talents for an event that looks at art and fashion’s intersection.

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“Fashion is Art” will kick off May 7 during Gallery Hop, a walkable event featuring collaborations between 10 pairs of visual artists and fashion designers on display in 10 Short North galleries.

The event will showcase where these two industries connect.

For Brandt and Terrell, the resulting work will be somewhat of a surprise. They didn’t prescribe or require any specific kind of output from the artists.

“I’m trying to stay out of the creative process because I want to be inspired and surprised and experience it with everybody else,” Terrell said.

One collaboration they have had a chance to preview is between Benjamin and Everett Johnson, a St. Louis-based handbag designer.

Johnson’s bags for the collaboration are from a collection he created after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, resulting in politically charged, almost sculptural pieces. And for Benjamin’s part, with knowledge of the motivation behind the bags, he has taken still lifes of the pieces.

“We’ll have Gavin still lifes that he’s created with the bags on the wall, but then we’ll have (Everett’s) bags on pedestals, almost like sculptures,” Brandt said.

The event will provide an opportunity for the artists, and the fashion designers involved, to have their work showcased together in a gallery setting.

“Seeing people being able to elevate their work in a different way puts them in a different circle, in front of different people, and (it’s) appreciated for its creativity and not just for its function,” Terrell said. “This is also bringing first-time opportunities to designers in ways that they wouldn’t believe that they could do.”

The fashion designers chosen leaned into their artistic side, as many of them are artists themselves, where fashion is just their chosen medium, Terrell said.

“Fashion is art,” he said. “Whether the medium is cotton or it’s canvas.”

Terrell wants to see more unique, creative experiences like this come to Columbus, where the creative scene is highlighted and showcased to a larger audience.

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From the fashion side, he envisions a design and garment district in Columbus, as a space where art, fashion and culture can coexist. The Design District in Miami is one example of what that could look like.

That conversation is somewhat in the early stages, but Brandt said the “Fashion is Art” event is one of the first iterations of such an effort. Terrell and Brandt intend to make it an annual event and even bigger in the years to come, like Columbus’ version of the Met Gala.

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At a glance

The “Fashion is Art” exhibit will take placefrom 4 to 8 p.m. May 7 during the Short North Gallery Hop. The event will also feature performances from the Short North Alliance and a post-celebration at Moxy Columbus. The exhibit will continue through May 29.

Here are the participating galleries and artists and designers:

• Brandt-Roberts Galleries, 642 N. High St., featuring works by Gavin Benjamin, Everett Johnson; brandtrobertsgalleries.com

• Emergent Art + Craft, 14 E. Lincoln St., featuring works by Kristen Mimms Scavnicky, Dre McLeod; emergentartcraft.com

• Hammond Harkins Galleries, 641 N. High St., featuring works by Melissa Vogley Woods, Xuena Pu; hammondharkins.com

• Lindsay Gallery, 986 N. High St., featuring works by Amber Groome, Meghan Kerr; lindsaygallery.com

• Marcia Evans Gallery, 8 E. Lincoln St., featuring works by Veena Bansal, Ryan Orweiler; marciaevansgallery.com

• Sarah Gormley Gallery, 988 N. High St., featuring works by Sarah Hout, Joan Madison; sarahgormleygallery.com

• Sean Christopher Gallery, 815 N. High St., featuring works by Chris Thalgott, Suzanne Cotton; seanchristophergallery.com

• Sharon Weiss Gallery, 20 E. Lincoln St., featuring works by Edmund Boateng, Dandy Kingzman; sharonweissgallery.com

• Sherrie Gallerie, 694 N. High St., featuring works by Ron Isaacs, Darsy Amaya; sherriegallerie.com

• Studios on High Gallery, 686 N. High St., featuring works by Jen McCracken and Bev Whiteside, Voszi Douglas; studiosonhigh.com

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Fashion is Art Gallery Hop event to showcase how industries connect



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