Kent State fashion professors’ designs to be represented at Olympics

Amanda Crumm

A local dance troupe’s prayers were answered when three professors from the Kent State School of Fashion Design and Merchandising agreed to create new costumes for the troupe’s 2012 Summer Olympics performances.

L.I.O.N. Players – a performing arts troupe based in Akron that says it uses dance, drama, mime and personal stories to share God’s plan for sexuality with teens and young adults – will be performing in London and Wales during the Olympic Games.

“L.I.O.N., which stands for Life Isn’t Only Now, refers to the decisions we make and that our choices have consequences, both now and eternally,” founder Jane Gurley said.

She said she contacted Dr. Sherry Schofield-Tomschin, an associate professor at Kent State’s Fashion School, about creating new costumes for the troupe. Schofield-Tomschin said she was overjoyed to have the opportunity to design and create something that would be worn at the Olympics and recruited two of her colleagues to assist with the project: associate professors Linda Ohrn-McDaniel and Vince Quevedo.

“It’s a local dance troupe and they get to go to the Olympics, and if we can help out, not only is it good for the community, but it makes us feel good. It helps them out, and it’s not every day that you get to design for something of that caliber,” Schofield-Tomschin said.

L.I.O.N. Players paid for the fabric, while the professors volunteered about 150 hours of their time and labor to design and create the costumes at Rockwell Hall, home of the fashion school.

Amy Schreiner, L.I.O.N. Players’ artistic director and a 1998 Kent State graduate, said the dance troupe was at a loss for words when the professors agreed to create the costumes.

“We were shocked, amazed, overjoyed and very thankful,” Schreiner said. “This was a huge gift to our team.”

The professors created 31 costumes to portray characters and animals for the troupe’s signature performance, “Eden Again,” which is based on the biblical creation and the Garden of Eden.

“I liked the creativity with the animals that they’ve done with the costumes, and I think they did a great job, “ said Anthony Mangeri, 35, a L.I.O.N. Player performer, who owns his own electrical contracting business.

A “High Tea” fundraiser was held June 16 at St. Thomas Orthodox Hall in Fairlawn to raise money for the troupe’s trip to London. The event’s donations totaled $9,734.17.

About 200 guests were ushered to their seats in a room decorated to resemble high tea in England. The elegant tables were filled with teas of many flavors, as well as pots of coffee for coffee drinkers. Scones and jams complemented the British theme. Plates of chocolate-covered strawberries and a variety of cookies were also offered for guests to enjoy.

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].