March 2010 Issue
News Makers, News Stories, New Stuff
Edited by Linda Feagler
Shot in the Darke
By Ilona Westfall
Though small in stature at only 5 feet tall, Annie Oakley left a legacy big enough for someone twice her size. In honor of the 150th birthday of the diminutive sharpshooter, the Garst Museum in Annie’s native Darke County is hosting a series of events entitled “The Year of Annie Oakley.”
The premiere event — a lecture on March 21 by re-enactor Loretta Jones — focuses on Annie as an icon for women.
“Annie never thought of herself as a role model [for women] but she certainly became one,” says Garst Museum executive director Penny Perry, adding that it’s no coincidence that the talk takes place during Women’s History Month.
“When she became wealthy with the ‘Wild West Show’ [in the late 1800s], she never forgot her roots,” Perry explains. “She always gave to help her family, to help orphanages, to help young girls.
“But more importantly,” Perry adds, “Annie was way ahead of her time because she had tremendous success in an area that had been dominated by men.”
The events continue on May 22, with the Little Sure Shot Gala, a fund-raiser for the museum, that includes raffles, auctions and tours of the museum’s Annie Oakley Center (“the largest collection of Annie artifacts anywhere,” says Perry).
On June 26 and 27, the museum will host “Annie, the Pride of Darke County,” a show featuring Annie-themed floral arrangements by members of Darke County garden clubs, who will return November 26 through December 31 with similarly themed Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.
The event that has Perry most excited, though, is a weeklong birthday party, which will take place August 11–16 (Annie’s birthday was August 13), complete with celebratory cake.
“She’s the most famous and successful person to ever come from Darke County,” says Perry, “and there’s tremendous pride in her here.”
The Garst Museum is located at 205 N. Broadway, Greenville 45331. For more information, call 937/548-5250 or visit garstmuseum.org.
By Linda Feagler
Nothing says more about who we are than the clothes we wear. And to Christina Getachew, the best way to ensure that the right message comes across is to add a touch or two to a garment to make it your own. That philosophy led her to open Substance, a boutique in Columbus’ Short North neighborhood, four years ago. Chic, yet unpretentious, it’s a welcoming place filled with skirts, pants, dresses and wraps created by the proprietor and her team of five designers under the Fashion Conscious People label. Pieces are crafted from a range of organic materials, including cotton, wool and a bamboo-cotton blend.
“We focus on the simple, elegant and classic,” says Getachew, 41, who’s been sewing her own clothes since age 13.
“Because,” she adds with a tongue-in-cheek smile, “where there’s style, there should also be substance.”
The tailor-made apparel, however, isn’t the only draw: Shoppers are
invited to select from a variety of cotton T-shirts –– v-necks and crews, long-sleeved and short –– available in stylish silhouettes fashioned by Substance staffers. Then, under patient tutelage in the shop’s Design Lab, patrons are encouraged to add their own embellishments: affix a vintage button or batik daisy here, attach a wisp of ribbon or lace there … and a new form of self-expression emerges. The more adventurous can try their hand at altering a neckline or adding darts to change the shape.
“We really see the T-shirt as the foundation for a wardrobe,” says Getachew. “Plus, we enjoy the one-on-one interaction with customers.”
And, she adds, time spent crafting a new creation is guaranteed to permanently eradicate those lingering memories of junior-high-school home-ec disasters.
“To us, there’s no such thing as a mistake,”
Getachew explains. “As it is in the fashion world, anything you think you’ve done wrong in the design process can be made to look intentional. And we love asymmetry. Clothes can be perfectly imperfect –– and still be pretty.”
Through the years, Substance has hosted workshops for girlfriend getaways and field trips for students from the State University of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Last month, the shop served as the site for a baby shower: Participants expressed their good wishes to the mother-to-be by making individual squares for a receiving blanket.
“I think the fun part of fashion is being part of the process,” Getachew says. “Being able to see and appreciate the art behind it.
“That,” she adds, “is what we offer here.”
For more information, visit shopsubstance.com.
A Noteworthy Achievement
By Steve Herrick
It’s the first day of a new decade, and the musicians are ready to kick it off. Thirty-two strong, they proudly stride up Colorado Boulevard to the strains of “Superstition,” made famous by Stevie Wonder. The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Panthers are making their debut in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, with a flourish. And they don’t miss a beat.
“The parade itself felt like it lasted 20 minutes instead of 2 1/2 hours,” says the band’s co-director, Dan Kelley. “We were pumped.”
Founded in Columbus in 1837, the Ohio State School for the Blind has the distinction of being the first public school for the blind in the United States. Now, it has the honor of being home to the first band of its kind - as well as the smallest - that has ever marched in the New Year’s Day pageant.
The idea of participating in the renowned celebration of all things floral began purely by happenstance, explains band co-director Carol Agler.
“A parade volunteer was doing a Google search for unusual bands during the summer of 2008, and our name popped up,” she explains. “He was curious and called.”
To be considered, the Panthers were required to submit a video showcasing their musical talents and marching skills. Medleys and moves were tweaked, perfected and filmed during summer band camp. Their hard work was duly rewarded in the form of a congratulatory phone call from then-parade president Gary DiSano during a school assembly.
Preparations began a year and a half before the big day, as musicians worked diligently with the 36 assistants who march with them. These volunteers would serve as guides to keep the formation straight along the five-mile parade route. Band members sold lapel pins and staged concerts to help raise money for the trip.
Kelley remembers the week leading up to the parade as being a whirlwind of activity that included a concert at Disneyland and a pep rally on the beach in Santa Monica. The ensemble was also honored by the Accessibility and Disability Commission of the city of Pasadena for “advancing the rights of people with disabilities to participate in all aspects of the community.”
“It was an amazing experience,” recalls Chris Harrington, a senior from Westerville who plays the sousaphone. “I’m proud of the band’s accomplishment.”
Since their appearance, e-mails and letters have poured in, requesting the Panthers for personal appearances around the country. Offers being considered include performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and at the Pearl Harbor commemoration that will be held in Hawaii next year.
“Being able to say I was part of this ensemble,” says flutist Macy McClain, a senior who lives in Bellefontaine, “will be one of the highlights of my life.”
To see YouTube videos of The Marching Panthers, click here.