Art & Knitting club designs mannequins for local businesses


All the participants put the finishing touches on the record skirt. Each of the nine members has their own motivations for working on the project. Jordan Hughes, freshman, felt the work has given her inspiration for her future years at U. U. City. “In the future, I would love to work with different materials,” Hughes said.

Lucinda Costello-Kumfer, Staff Writer

What’s a fun and interesting way to promote sustainability? For the Art and Knitting Club, it’s participating in The Mannequins Project. 

The Mannequins Project consists of artists, designers, and students in the STL area designing mannequins for different businesses in the Loop- but they can only use recycled or repurposed materials. The Art and Knitting Club are designing two mannequins, one for Blueberry Hill and one for RedLion Customs. This is the 14th year the project has existed, and the designs will be displayed outside the Ronald E. McNair Administration building. 

“It’s an opportunity for artists to be super creative and to celebrate U. City,” Marine Claunch, art teacher and Art and Knitting Club sponsor, said. “The main goal or purpose is to show that you can use all kinds of materials that are recycled or repurposed to create beautiful and interesting art pieces and clothing.”

Environmental activism and sustainability are a large aspect of the Mannequins Project.

“This project is important because we only have one earth, as they say,” Anniya Smith, senior, said. “The environment- it seems like no one is hearing it and no one is seeing it, so hopefully seeing like straight trash being used to make art will make people wake up.”

No new materials are allowed to be bought to design the mannequins, so the club is turning to reused materials such as bottle caps, records and things purchased from thrift stores.

“Vintage Vinyl, which is one of the shops in the loop, has actually donated a lot of their records to us, and we’re using them right now to create a skirt,” Smith said.  

The completed mannequins will be on display from May 20th to June 11th, 2023.

“It kind of feels overwhelming, knowing that whatever you make a ton of people will see,” Makayla Jamison, freshman, said. 

The first place winner wins $1,500, with other prizes for second place and audience favorite, as well as a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship for high school seniors if they write an essay.

“Public art in general does a lot for community so people being able to experience all these different creative pieces helps build community and support for artists and the visual arts in general,” Claunch said.  

On top of the benefit to the community, the Mannequins Project has been a long-standing tradition in U. City, dating back 10 years ago when local women’s fashion designer Audrey Jones and her mother, Dorothy Davis, created the competition.

“I felt really inspired by the story the creator was telling us,” Smith said. “And how she chose University City specifically to be a part of it, even though we’re not the only school district who does it.”