The Eye of the Beholder

What is beauty? What is art? Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of art, beauty and taste, but a quick glance at its Wikipedia page shows there is no universal definition or common standard—it’s naturally subjective. The meaning of the word “art” has evolved over the centuries, and continues to do so today. Certainly, the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” rings ever true.

Last year’s inaugural IGNITE Peoria event at the Peoria Civic Center took the broad view of art, beauty and creativity—and it’s back again in 2015. Witnessing this boundless diversity—both on display and in performance—changed more than one person’s thinking about what art is… or can be. IGNITE’s “Creation Stations” allowed the public to actually participate in the artistic process, and its warm reception uncovered a desire for creative self-expression that lies tucked away in all of us.

True to its name, the event ignited numerous sparks in the community. Perhaps the most significant effort to arise from IGNITE Peoria was Fashion Ignite, the brainchild of artist Tracey Frugoli. Fashion Ignite is not a runway show; it’s a live, public fashion photo shoot extravaganza. The collaborative effort of dozens of creative professionals—photographers, makeup artists, fashion designers, hair stylists, fine craft artists and local boutiques—it offers a fascinating peek into the world of photography, fashion and style.

When we first learned about Fashion Ignite last year, we knew we wanted to cover this cornucopia of creativity in some way, and the issue you hold in your hands is the result. From a behind-the-scenes look at Fashion Ignite to the unique clothing designs of Lily Scalf, we converge on style and fashion in these pages like never before. With a surge of interest in men’s grooming, we pulled together some tips for bringing out your “inner gentleman,” and elsewhere, we profile the handcrafted luxury soaps of another Peoria entrepreneur. There’s even a four-page fashion editorial spread—a first for Art & Society!

So… what is art? It’s painting, sculpture, music, dance and theater, yes. But it’s also design. It’s details. It’s fabric and fiber, hair and makeup… It’s the diverse cultural groups of The World IGNITES Peoria—the rich, majestic tapestry of our unique community on display. It’s ever-changing, ever-expanding, and it’s right here in our own backyard. a&s

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