LEAP Middle School Initiative

The Ensemble and the Self

Using Trenton Doyle Hancock’s work Good Vegan Progression #4 as a starting point, teaching-artist-in-residence Robin Verhage-Abrams introduced LEAP artists to costume design for performing arts, and provided guidance in how to translate ideas into 3D textile expressions. Building upon a collectively established theme, the artists conducted research to personalize their individual designs. The artists were encouraged to create a costume design that occupied a place in Hancock’s ever-evolving environments, yet were from their own individual sensibilities. In the process, the students not only learned about Hancock’s artistic practice, world-building, and the wild array of characters he has created–many out of his own personal mythology–but they also found, explored, and exposed their own alter egos.

Robin Verhage-Abrams has designed costumes for more than sixty theater and opera productions. Working regionally, nationally, and internationally she collaborated with companies such as Laterna Majika, Prague, Czech Republic, Jim Henson’s Muppets New York, NY, and Opera Theatre St Louis. She served as an Associate Professor at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University and now enjoys emeritus status.

2018 LEAP participating artists: Alexa Bishop, Chase Campbell, Kimmeran Cade, Breanna Carter, Ella Cuneo, Emma Deaton, Samiah Elmore, Isabelle “Izzy” Jackson-Cameron, Amora Jones, Finn Kanak, Ivy Kanak, Peter Rowlyk, Sanai Todd, Abby Van Endem, and Angel Wells.

LEAP Middle School Initiative: The Ensemble and the Self is organized for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis by José Garza, Museum Educator.

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