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Models walk the runway at Grinnell Arts Center and Gallery

The city of Grinnell is not exactly known for its fashion denizens. But on Monday, Nov. 1, models—all from the Grinnell area—strutted their stuff at a fashion show called Designing Women. The show featured Doncaster’s Fall/Winter ’10 collection and was a fundraising effort to help restore and renovate the Grinnell Arts Center and Gallery.

Fashion Show
Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance Lesley Delmenico models a piece of clothing - Daniel Penny

Judy Arendt, Arts Director for the Grinnell Arts Council and one of the major forces behind the show, explained the idea for the project.

“This is a 1902 building, it’s been renovated from the old school library into the Grinnell Arts Center and Gallery, over 1000 volunteer hours, a few grants, and private donations have gone into it,” she said. “This event is partly to raise money for refurbishments, like finishing the floors and restoring the original chandeliers, the windows, the lighting. This is on the historical registry [and] we want to keep the integrity of the building.”

One of the show’s main organizers, M.J. Zimmerman ’56, explained that the event was an especially fitting way to raise funds for the renovation of the building.

“When somebody looks at you, they judge you by what you wear. It may not be fair, but it is absolutely true [and] when a person sees a community and sees a beautiful building that has been restored and preserved, that speaks a great deal about the community.”

This event certainly saw the Grinnell community come together for a cause. In addition to featuring all local models, there were volunteers from the city, flower arrangements donated by Flowers on Fourth, and an encouraging turnout, with 116 of 120 seats occupied.

The theme of the show, ‘Designing Women,’ was evident throughout the night. “The show is called Designing Women—these women who contributed to the walls are designing women,” said Zimmerman, in reference to the pieces of quilt work adorning the walls of the Arts Center. The exhibited quilts were made by members of the Iowa Art Quilters Guild and utilized techniques ranging from needle felting and hand-painting to machine quilting and appliqué.

“This is a wonderful, artistic exhibit by women who quilt with great threads and materials and we’re talking about that in terms of what you wear. The fabric is where everything in fashion begins,” Zimmerman said.

Additionally, the models put together their own outfits. As Zimmerman explained, “What I said to the models tonight is would you wear this, because if you won’t choose this for yourself you won’t be happy here.”

Claire Moisan, one of the models, said she enjoyed participating in the fashion show.

“It was a lot of fun meeting great people that I didn’t know before, and it’s for a great cause.”

The show was also well received by the audience. Sandy Motta, an attendee, expressed her approval of the event.

“[My wanting to come here is] a conglomeration of everything. This is where I used to bring my kids when they were younger, and of course, I love art.”

Individuals interested in volunteering with the Arts Council can contact Arendt at

The artwork of Iowa Art Quilters Textile Artists will be on exhibit in the Grinnell Arts Center and Gallery from Nov. 4 to Dec. 19 2010.

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