About Green Project Runway
Green Project Runway is not your typical art class. It is an innovative children’s arts program in which participants design and model their own wearable – and recyclable – works of art. The program was conceived by board member Gayle Wagner in 2011 as part of her children’s summer art classes at the Old Town Arts & Crafts Guild - the oldest non-profit arts organization on the North Fork of Long Island.
Green Project Runway is modeled after the hit television show, Project Runway, in which aspiring fashion designers make their own clothing out of raw materials. Gayle puts an environmental twist on the show, encouraging children to design their own wearable art projects (clothing, accessories, etc.) using only recycled or donated materials. Materials range from pop-top soda can lids, safety pins, duct tape, feathers, buttons, plastic bags, and donated clothing to excess arts and craft supplies donated by guild members.
Each summer the program culminates in a runway show on the Village Green in Cutchogue, where the children strut the catwalk in their very own upcycled clothing designs. There is a new theme every year - ranging from Mardi Gras to Project Shipwrecked, Safari Tours, and Alien Invasion.
This has become one of the Guild’s most popular and influential community development programs, doubling in size from 2011 to 2015. However, due to it’s overwhelming success and the Guild’s limited space and resources they have had to turn away several dozen children in recent years.
In The Press
Suffolk Times: Young North Fork Artists Recycle for the Runway
North Fork Patch: 'Green Project Runway' Teaches Lessons About Art and Recycling
Safari Tour (2014)
I've been involved in every step of the process from theme conception to art instruction, program implementation, prop design, dress rehearsal, and production management.
I look forward to this program all year because its not only educational but fun for everyone involved. Its so exciting to see what the kids will come up with every summer. It would blow your mind what 15 kids can create with an old T-Shirt, some paint. and a cardboard box.
We change the theme every year, so students new and old have an opportunity to experience the program through fresh eyes. Returning students say they love coming back year after year, and they're always excited to show off the creative skills they've learned while away at school!
This program is a major source of pride for me as it instills kids with pride in themselves and their ideas, provides them with a creative outlet, and gives them the opportunity to present their work to the public via the runway show. They're not only gaining confidence in themselves and their art, they're also showing the community the importance of environmental stewardship.
I would encourage everyone to spread the word about this program because this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids and for myself as well.
Alien Invasion (2015)
© ELIZABETH WAGNER ART 2016