Collection: NIAD Gallery Exhibition // "A Little Bit of Everything," organized by Shantanice Swain

About the exhibition

After a long hiatus, NIAD is bursting at the seams with bold and boundary-pushing fiber and fashion creations. One-of-a-kind garments, drawings, accessories, and undefinable fiber fabrications will be on display in all of NIAD’s 23rd Street Galleries for the month of July.

Textile design, weaving, fiber art, wallhangings and clothing design have been a part of the NIAD studio culture since its founding in 1982. Traditionally viewed by the contemporary art establishment as mere, NIAD's first studio facilitators included fashion in its program with the intention of elevating fiber art (alongside ceramics and printmaking) to the same lofty status as painting and sculpture, and today a lively class devoted entirely to fashion meets weekly in the Virtual Studio. 

The centerpiece of A Little Bit of Everything is the runway event, staged at NIAD Art Center on July 30. Exhibition organizer and Fashion Class Facilitator Shantanice Swain describes the pieces she chose to send down the runway: "The colors and the designs in this exhibition represent who we are at NIAD—adventurous, bold, always stepping outside our comfort zone."

An excerpt from Me and My Gal, a publication documenting textile and fiber practices at NIAD produced and edited by Nan Collymore, captures how fashion can function for NIAD's disabled artists: "Clothing as protection from being seen, as a way of being seen, as a "fuck you" to the twin traps of invisibility and hyper-disability. How people with disabilities are often policed into a performance of asexuality, and how this rubs up against fashion, clothing, expression."

NIAD artists are beyond excited about the performative nature of the runway show, and the eight artists who will be walking on July 30 have been rehearsing for months. It may be hard work, but the escapist element of fashion is also part of the appeal for participants in the Fashion Class. As NIAD artist Heather Hamann puts it, "I like the pretty colors. I like the beautiful things and the fantasy of fashion."

About the organizer

Shantanice Swain is a Bay Area native who has worked with NIAD for twelve years. Over the course of her time at NIAD she has developed a deep appreciation for each artist's individual work style, and, drawing creative influence from the NIAD community, has become a multidisciplinary artist herself.  Shantanice is currently Community Programs Manager and Fashion Class Facilitator at NIAD.

Related Events

July 14, 15, 16, 17 // Book Launch at SF Art Book Fair

Friday July 29, 1:00PM // Virtual Artist Talk (RSVP here)

Saturday July 30, 1 to 4PM // Runway Show + Closing Reception (in-person and live-streamed)

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