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Fashion found in "RAGS"

"RAGS Wearable Art Sale" supports YWCA Pierce County

Wearable art created by Karen Gelbard, “The Oregon Weaver,” will be available at this week’s “RAGS Wearable Art Sale & Show.” Over 75 artists will present and sell art in support of YWCA Pierce County at the event. Photo courtesy of RAGS

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There's something truly satisfying about spending money on fashion for a cause, especially when "the cause" is none other than YWCA Pierce County. The nonprofit organization has been serving Pierce County and Washington State since 1906, and its programs aid over 15,000 individuals facing domestic violence issues each year. With a reputation like that, it's a no-brainer that the place to be this weekend is the "24th Annual RAGS Wearable Art Sale & Show" in support of YWCA Pierce County.

"The RAGS Wearable Art Sale & Show" will span four days beginning today, Thursday, March 8, and includes a ticketed gala and juried art show preview, followed by a weekend-long art sale of handcrafted accessories, garments and jewelry by over 75 artists.

"The focus has always been on finding out how to take the art in our community and use it to raise money for the YWCA shelter," said Kathy Dorr, a long-time member of RAGS and volunteer on the organization's artists and marketing committee. "It ("RAGS") started locally, but it has expanded to include artists all over the country."

Originally known as "Rags From Riches," "RAGS" was created solely to support YWCA Pierce County and its domestic violence prevention and intervention program. Since it was founded in 1994, the volunteer-run, juried wearable arts show has raised over $1.56 million for YWCA Pierce County.  

This year's "RAGS" event will kick-off with a ticketed gala preview. The evening will include first-viewing of one-of-a-kind gallery pieces in a juried wearable art show, as well as early opportunities to purchase for-sale pieces. While not all the wearable art is for sale, each piece is competing for various awards presented at the end of the night.

"We're honoring the artists who support the ‘RAGS show,'" said Dorr. "We want guests to appreciate this unique art that can also be worn and remember that all of this work is being done to support a much-needed service in our community."

The gala preview will also include live musical performances by local jazz ensemble The Kareem Kandi Band and catered appetizers and drinks from Dean Allen's Catering. "It's going to be a really fun party," said Dorr.  

Following the gala preview Thursday evening, "RAGS" festivities will open to the public, free of charge. Community members are welcome to attend the sale and show, browse wearable art and purchase pieces in support of YWCA Pierce County. One-third of profits from each sale will be donated to YWCA.

"There'll be a wide variety of price points," said Dorr. "We want everyone who comes to feel they can purchase a piece of wearable art if they'd like to ... It's a treat for the eye."

"24th ANNUAL RAGS WEARABLE ART SALE & SHOW," 6-9 p.m., Thursday, March 8 (Gala Preview), 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday-Saturday, March 9-10; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., March 11 (Wearable Art Sale & Show), Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma, 1701 Alexander Ave. E., Fife, Gala preview - $80; Wearable Art Sale & Show - Free, 253.272.4181,

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