Patrick (P.S.) Gordon, honorary chairman for “Beauty Beyond Borders”; Sara Bost Fisher, event co-chair; Matt Moffett, director of Tulsa Girls Art School; and Kate Jennemann, event co-chair.
“I’m a college student now!” Adalid Ciriaco squealed over the phone. The recent graduate of Tulsa Girls Art School could hardly contain her excitement when she called from Tulsa Community College on her first day of class.
As a part-time teacher to TGAS students, I regularly witness how the afterschool art program equips young women like Ciriaco to achieve their goals. Beyond visual arts, the program’s underserved and at-risk students learn about financial management and life skills through their art shows and field trips.
The collective creativity of TGAS students will be on display Nov. 13 at the sixth annual Through a Child’s Eye fundraiser, “Beauty Beyond Borders.”
Event Co-chairs Sara Bost Fisher and Kate Jennemann have planned an exciting night of art and culture in conjunction with Ihloff Salon and Day Spa’s annual hair show.
At a previous TGAS show, Fisher says she was “moved by how excited and proud of their pieces the girls were.” She even bought one of Ciriaco’s Audrey Hepburn-inspired paintings. The piece features a Hepburn-esque body and a bouquet of roses as her head.
“You can’t help but smile when you see it,” Fisher says. “The other reason it is meaningful is because of the promise that the senior show represented for Adalid. This was her final show for TGAS and all of the proceeds from that show went for her future in school.”
Ciriaco earned $6,000 from the sale of her “Colorful Elegance” collection. She is the first person in her family to attend college.
Funded in part from students’ art show sales, the field trips at TGAS are planned around fine arts experiences. For example, the beginning students spent a day this past summer at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., and the advanced students visited San Francisco museums.
These opportunities make a big difference for the girls, Jennemann says.
“It is so rare to see such a profound impact on a child’s confidence and self-worth firsthand, and I see that every time I go to TGAS,” she says. “Director Matt Moffett and staff are not only teaching arts education, they’re lifting these girls up in a way that seems almost impossible given the adversity that these students face every day.”
“Beauty Beyond Borders” opens with a reception for the students’ fall art show, where the girls’ latest works will be for sale, Moffett says.
A silent auction will feature works from internationally known artists, including Honorary Chairman Patrick (P.S.) Gordon, Paton Miller, Donald Drawbertson, Hunt Slonem, Eve Sonneman and Tulsans Chris Mantle and Caryn Brown.
During the Ihloff Hair Show, seven advanced TGAS students will model their own handmade headdresses that reflect characteristics of the seven continents. The students also will wear custom pinafores by designer Jo Wimer, Moffett says.
Amber Lynn Maxwell, a creative director of the Ihloff Creative Team, says she has designed hairstyles for the show’s other models that reflect countries on each continent.
“Some of the looks will take inspiration from different textures, art, architecture, street style, cultures and really anything that inspires us from that region of the world,” she says.
Celebrity Chairwoman Amber Valletta, who is a Tulsa native, supermodel and actress, will attend the event (see sidebar).
When Ihloff Salon and Day Spa Owner Marilyn Ihloff worked on Through a Child’s Eye two years ago, her team loved working with the TGAS students, she says.
“Watching our people work with the students and with all the collaboration and creative ideas,” she says, “I think this year will be the best show we’ve ever done.”
When fashion icon Anna Wintour, longtime editor of Vogue, names you her favorite cover model in the magazine’s 121 years, the weight of the compliment isn’t lost.
Tulsa native and supermodel Amber Valletta has graced the cover of Vogue 17 times, according to The New York Times Style Magazine.
A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, Valletta found modeling success in Los Angeles and eventually across the globe. She transitioned into film and television over the past 10 years with various roles to her credit.
Valletta co-founded A Squared Films, whose first project, “Driving Fashion Forward,” featured a series of documentary shorts on fashion and sustainability, according to her website. She also launched the online store Master & Muse by Amber Valletta, which sells fashions by some of the world’s most socially responsible designers.
When a friend of Valletta’s mother connected Valletta to Tulsa Girls Art School, she says it was an opportunity to visit her hometown while championing arts education for underserved children, one of her passions.
“It’s worth it to me to give my time for this because the empowerment these girls receive is priceless,” Valletta wrote in a recent email.
Nov. 13 — “Through a Child’s Eye: Beauty Beyond Borders”
5:30 p.m., cocktail reception and cultural cuisine. Assembly Hall, Cox Business Center, 100 Civic Center. $100. Call 918-949-9638 or visit www.tulsagirlsartschool.org.