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The Arkadelphia Arts Center is filled with theater costumes, vintage clothing and accessories on display in a new exhibit, Fashion Extravaganza.

“The variety of items on exhibit is eclectic and delightful,” said Farrell Ford, executive director of the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council, which promotes the local arts and artists through activities at the Arkadelphia Arts Center. “We hope visitors will enjoy the diversity and charm of this show.”

William Henshaw, resident costume designer and professor of theater arts at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, serves as curator of the exhibit. He has made many of the theater costumes that are on display; others are from his private collection.

Other contributors to the exhibit include the theater arts department at Ouachita Baptist University and Christina Johnson, OBU visiting assistant professor of theater arts; the Clark County Historical Association; and private individuals such as Mary Ellen Taylor, Evelyn Good, Mary Jo Mann, Wanda Huneycutt and Laverne Todd.

“This is what I strive for … commonality, cooperation and collaboration of everybody,” Ford said, smiling. “An important goal of the Clark County Arts and Humanities Council is to encourage communication, cooperation and collaboration throughout the art community and to show the diversity of our local artists.

“This exhibit has demonstrated the success of this effort as we present the outstanding works of the theater arts departments of Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University and promote the artists behind these beautiful art pieces,” Ford said.

Henshaw, who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in drama from San Diego State University, is beginning his 18th year at Henderson State University. His specialty areas are costume construction and design, stage makeup, play analysis and women/gender and race in American theater.

In designing clothing for the plays that are presented at Henderson State, Henshaw said he reads the script “three or four times” and does an analysis for each character that he will be dressing.

“I then come up with a variety of sketches and meet with the director,” he said. “We talk about the designs … go back and forth.”

Once the designs are approved, Henshaw selects the fabric for the costumes, finds a pattern — or often, makes the pattern — and sews the costume. The actors typically wear the costumes for two weeks; then the costumes are put into storage for possible use later.

“I am very happy to exhibit these costumes,” Henshaw said. “I have shared some of them in an exhibit at Henderson, and I had some in a small exhibit down here at the arts center. But this is by far the largest collection I have exhibited.”

In his position at Henderson, Henshaw has been involved with the costume and makeup designs of more than 60 main-stage productions as either designer or faculty mentor for the students. He has also designed costumes for the HSU Dance Co. spring concerts, the HSU Opera Workshop and other special performances.

Fashion Extravaganza will be on display at the Arkadelphia Arts Center, 625 Main St., through Sept. 1. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. There is no admission charge.Read more at:formal dresses