This article is part of our ongoing series on Tacoma City Ballet’s Sultry Summer Night Soirée on Saturday, July 21st at 7:00 PM. Assistant Artistic Director Joel Myers has curated an installation of artwork as part of this amazing evening of art immersion. A limited number of tickets are still available – get yours here!
Boys don’t wear things like that
Girls don’t play that way
He’s such a sissy
She’s such a Tomboy
No trucks for her
No dolls for you
The Fancy Fort is an installation piece about childhood and gender or more specifically the issues that arise around what is and is not “gender appropriate” during childhood. The inspiration for the piece comes from my own childhood but also from experiences I’ve had like trying to shop for baby clothes without knowing the sex of the child and being unable to find any gender neutral clothing in a sea of pinks, blues, frills and camo. Or watching kids in middle school (and younger) learn to hide big parts of who they are in order to “fit in,” to avoid bullying and teasing from both their peers and the adults around them. I grew up running around with homemade guns in the backyard, playing with matchbox cars, legos and army men like a young man should. But I also played dolls with my big sister and because of her have always loved fashion magazines. My childhood was largely devoid of negative peer pressure as a home schooled kid who later went to a very liberal alternative high school and then straight into the world of ballet. Additionally, my parents (while very conservative in many other areas) never pushed the boys to be manly or the girls to be more ladylike. This allowed me to hold onto my “fanciness” as I grew up without taking to much grief for it. I was never mocked for playing dolls with my sister and I think it made me a better father. It was only recently that a group of middle school girls (students of mine) made fun of my love of fashion magazines. It made me sad that at thirteen years old it was so very clear in the minds of these girls what was and was not “gender appropriate.” A big part of the inspiration for the form that the Fancy Fort has taken comes from the fact that I am part of a large family (seven kids) and grew up in a very small house (two bedrooms) so one of my first moves towards establishing my independent status was that during the summers I would set up a tent in the yard as far away from the house as my extension cord would allow. Those blissful few weeks each summer where the rain would hold off were very formative for my nine/ten/eleven year old self and the joy of creating a little space that is whatever I want it to be is what you will be sharing when you enter the Fancy Fort.
Featuring Artwork By…
Letha Colleen Myers
Conversations with Artists
Tacoma City Ballet’s Studio Spaces in The Merlino Art Center
508 6th Avenue | Tacoma, WA 98402
Saturday, July 21st 7:00 PM
For tickets: 253.272.4219 or www.tacomacityballet.com