“Dorothy Grant is an artist, designer and visionary whose creations have graced the red carpet at the Oscars,” says Deborah Martin Mintz, Executive Director of the Arts Council. “We are extraordinarily fortunate to have her travel from her home in Western Canada. We're also grateful to the behind-the-scenes work by two of the Arts Council’s Board members and co-chairs for the September 15th event, Darlene Holmes Ransom and Tiffany Locklear Pennink.”
The event is in conjunction with the current exhibition, Contemporary Art Forms By America’s First People, which includes works as diverse as portrait paintings, pottery, baskets and textiles by some of today’s most acclaimed American Indian artists.
Dorothy Grant credits her Haida culture as the inspiration and driving force behind her designs since 1986. The traditional Haida territory spans the boundary between British Columbia in Canada and Alaska. The Haida heartland is the two large and many smaller islands known as Haida Gwaii, which means “islands of the people” in Haida.
Grant became the first to merge Haida art and fashion utilizing her formal training at the Helen Lefeaux School of Fashion Design, according to her website, dorothygrant.com.
She says that her clothing embodies the Haida philosophy Yaangudan, meaning “self- respect.” For her, the designs are about “empowerment, pride and feeling good about oneself.” Raven and eagle motifs figure heavily into Grant’s detailed designs.
One of the highlights of her career was at the 2016 Oscars when actor Duane Howard (The Revenant) wore her Eagle Raven tuxedo.
“I can’t even find the words that describe how I felt when I saw that!” Grant says. “It was 30 years of emotions and memories, and it still overwhelms me.”
Dorothy Grant will be available to meet the public at the Arts Council event, which will include a Champagne toast. The event time is from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 15, at the Arts Center. The address is 301 Hay Street, downtown.
A limited-number of tickets are $10 each and can be purchased attheartscouncil.com, or by calling the Arts Council at 910.323.1776. Proceeds go toward funding a Native American make-and-take craft at the 40th International Folk Festival on Sept. 28, 29 and 30 in downtown Fayetteville.
ABOUT THE ARTS COUNCIL
Founded in 1973 by a group of local visionaries, the Arts Council supports individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development and lifelong learning through the arts. The Arts Council organizes and produces the International Folk Festival and A Dickens Holiday; spearheads public art initiatives in the community; administers grants and project support for both arts and cultural groups and individual artists; and oversees the extensive Artists in Schools program in Cumberland County and Fort Bragg. The Arts Council also is known for creating innovative exhibitions throughout the year in their Gallery at the Arts Center, 301 Hay Street in downtown Fayetteville.
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The Arts Council’s grants, programs and services are funded in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.