Robert Reed, an installation and performance artist from Hawaii, crafted "Doggy Style" from bath loofahs.

Robert Reed, an installation and performance artist from Hawaii, crafted "Doggy Style" from bath loofahs. (courtesy ManneqArt / March 25, 2013)

Forget Fashion Week in Paris and New York -- high style calls Howard County home this year through a new fashion, hair and makeup competition.

“ManneqArt: Sculpture on the Human Form” is the brainchild of Laurel-based designer Lee Andersen and will include events throughout the year. The wearable arts competition was created to “showcase the best in imaginative hair sculpture, special effects makeup, costuming and digital art,” according to organizers.

Andersen patterned ManneqArt after the World of Wearable Art competition in her native New Zealand.

“I’ve been waiting 23 years for the competition to come here to the U.S.,” says Andersen, “but it never did.”


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So, with the help of her husband, Andersen decided to bring the movement here herself. “ManneqArt is a unique occasion for bringing together artists specializing in movie effects, makeup and the digital arts,” most of whom do not often have the opportunity to work side by side, Andersen says.

On Sunday, June 23, Historic Savage Mill will host a hair and makeup competition, the first of three ManneqArt events in 2013. To be held in conjunction with the annual Columbia Festival of the Arts, the event will test 40 hair artists and 40 makeup artists as they vie to create daring and original masterpieces on live models, based on the themes of air, water, earth and fire. During the competition, guests can view the clothing designs that correspond with each hair and makeup design displayed on mannequins. Judges will select 12 winning hair artists and 12 winning makeup artists, each of whom will be featured in the 2014 ManneqArt calendar. 

The second phase of ManneqArt will exhibit more than 200 wearable arts sculptures in various locations around Howard County, including local businesses, The Mall in Columbia and the Columbia Association’s Art Center in the Long Reach Village Center. Additional locations will be announced on manneqart.org and ManneqArt’s Facebook page. Viewers will be able to purchase maps of the exhibits, T-shirts and $1 tokens to nominate their favorite artwork for the People’s Choice Awards.

ManneqArt 2013 will conclude with an awards gala for artists and their sponsors Sept. 29 at the Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center at Howard Community College, during which more than $50,000 will be distributed in awards to the top artists. Live models will strut award-winning designs down the catwalk as guests enjoy edible landscapes that reflect the theme of the four natural elements.

Having attracted entrants from inside and outside the United States for ManneqArt’s inaugural year, Andersen says she hopes the competition will become an annual international event. “I want to make Howard County a center for the arts community,” Andersen says.

More information is available at manneqart.org.