Sustainable style and innately beautiful multimedia exhibit

Posted on April 28, 2023

LIHC Pubantz Artists in Residence
Gabriel Coll-Bettencort and Lisa Woolfall

Pubantz Artists in Residence pack a punch in spring showcase

Yards of colorful fabric and the hum of sewing machines fade into the background as senior apparel design major Lisa Woolfall pins and tucks her design around a mannequin. Here, in the Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies (CARS) sewing lab, she’s accustomed to the din of creativity. This room is where she put together her versatile fashion collection “Shadows of Light,” with funding help from the Pubantz Artist in Residence (AIR) Program.

Woolfall is one of five students in UNC Greensboro’s Lloyd International Honors College to receive an AIR grant. Designed to encourage honors students with a passion for the arts to explore and develop their creative vision, AIR arms each student with a grant to cover expenses as they bring their projects in visual, written, and performing arts to life. They receive encouragement from their mentors and attend group meetings for constructive feedback two or three times each semester. The year-long program culminates in the Pubantz Artist in Residence Showcase, where the public is invited to view the projects and performances, and meet the artists. This year, the showcase took place April 3 in the Alumni Building.

A Fashion Collection Considering Business and Sustainability

“As a sophomore, I created a sustainable dress that could be worn 27 different ways. It inspired me to think about how I could add versatility to garments, so  you could wear them longer, they last longer, and are sustainable in a way that people don’t typically think of,” Woolfall says. “I applied to AIR, so I could create a collection of versatile designs and show consumers that there are many ways to be sustainable beyond fabric and material choices.”

“Shadows of Light” includes four different garments which can all be worn at least three different ways. For example, she designed a wrap dress which may be worn as a vest, and it’s reversible, so there are two different color options. She also designed a top that can be worn both as a dress and a skirt.

“The four different pieces not only create the four outfits, but with mixing and matching and tying things in different ways, it creates a multitude of looks,” she explains. 

With sustainability and wearing and rewearing becoming more common and encouraged in the fashion industry, Woolfall’s collection is right on time.

In addition to the collection, she is creating a video to serve as a sizzle reel, or commercial, for the collection, demonstrating the different ways the garments can be styled for different occasions. The business of fashion is just one more perk of earning her degree at UNCG.

“Coming out of high school, I knew I wanted to combine the business side of my brain with my more creative art side,” Woolfall says. The Colorado native toured UNCG and chose the Apparel Design Program because it was housed in the Bryan School of Business

“I knew if I came to UNCG, I would be prepared for any variety of careers,” Woolfall says. “I’m so happy I chose UNCG because it’s helped me prepare for the fashion industry as a whole.”

Beauty for Beauty’s Sake

Oil on canvas, sheet music from a German composer, a student poem, and a vocal performance. These are just a few elements of music major Gabriel Coll-Bettencourt’s AIR project “Beauty for Beauty’s Sake.”

“I never had a name for the peace of mind and spirituality found in nature and the humanity that I thought I’d lost by moving to a city,” says Coll-Bettencourt. A native of Asheville and avid hiker, he found the transition to urban school life in Greensboro a challenge. “But then I took a class with Dr. Angela Bolte in the Lloyd Honors College on transcendentalism. Immediately, I felt the deep ecology, concepts, and philosophies of valuing nature innately were connected to art.” 

Coll-Bettencourt utilized his AIR grant to explore art, beauty, nature, and how we value them both individually and as a society. 

“Essentially, we value art innately just for its beauty,” he explains. “We’ve placed a lot of value on art – financial and emotional – just because of how beautiful it is. And that’s not necessarily superficial.” 

“If you translate that to nature by enjoying the biosphere, animals, parks, and greenways with their innate value in mind, then maybe we can make a case that beauty is reason enough to preserve them. It’s really about finding the balance in how we value nature and our natural resources, instrumentally versus innately.” 

His exhibit consists of five oil on canvas paintings and a playlist of him singing three songs accompanied by a pianist. When experienced in tandem, his combination of visual and audible art encourages visitors to consider the themes of transcendentalism, beauty, nature, and what they are worth.

“Art is made to make people question, and my hope is that my work shifts people’s perspective and broadens their definition of value,” Coll-Bettencourt says.

Following the showcase, he is working with UNCG Libraries to set up an exhibit so that others may enjoy his art on their own time.

“Each painting will match up with a track on the playlist, so visitors can look at the piece and draw connections with the music,” explains Coll-Bettencourt. “This project is kind of how I’m putting all of my knowledge and interests into one package. I hope to expand on it in the future.” 

Story by Alice Manning Touchette

Video by David A. Row

Photography by Sean Noroma

Pubantz Artist in Residence Program
Lloyd International Honors College


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