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    Artists show off cardboard crafting skills at charity event to benefit All Souls Procession

    Warren Van Nest

    Courtesy of Warren Van Nest

    Tucson residents participated in last year’s Cardboard Ball, a fundraiser for the All Souls Procession Workshops. The event encourages attendees to wear cardboard or other handmade fashions out of recycled material. Last year, local artists had cardboard themed art for sale and donated art for a raffle. This year’s
    Cardboard Ball will be at the Maker House in downtown Tucson.

    For one night only, hundreds of people from all walks of life will don their most avant-garde, out-of-this-world, homemade attire made from glue, paint and cardboard.

    In an effort to raise money for the All Souls Procession and the Many Mouths One Stomach organization, the Cardboard Ball is a charity event that invites locals to get creative and crafty with recycled materials.

    MMOS is an organization made up of Tucson artists, teachers and community members whose goal is, according to its website, “to create, inspire, manifest and perpetuate modern festal culture.”

    Festal culture deals with the expression of basic human needs through festival-type celebrations and rituals within the community. For MMOS, this specific need is to honor those who have passed on, which is where the idea for the All Souls Procession first came about.

    The All Souls Procession is an annual event that has taken place in Tucson for the past 24 years and was founded by Susan Johnson and Mykl Wells in 1990. Inspired by the Mexican tradition of Dia de los Muertos, the All Souls Procession parades through town once a year and honors the deceased through art, performance, celebration and the burning of a large urn filled with offerings and wishes for departed souls.

    The All Souls Procession and the community workshops that accompany it are completely nonprofit and private donation-driven.

    “You don’t see any slogans,” said Tony Ford, the founder of Maker House, the venue for this year’s Cardboard Ball. “The money is all raised by the community, and it’s not cheap.”

    In addition to its generous donors within the community, MMOS holds fundraisers throughout the year in order to hold the All Souls Procession and community workshops, the Cardboard Ball being one of them.

    The idea for the Cardboard Ball originated when Wells, co-founder of All Souls Procession and full-time artist, entered Cartasia, an art residency and competition in Italy in 2012. He was one of seven artists chosen to compete and would be given an apartment to share with another artist, a studio and materials to work with and airfare, but food and other expenses had to be covered by himself.

    “I was going to be away two months,” Wells said. “I’m a working artist and I can’t afford to take that much time away from work, so I dreamed up a fundraiser called the Cardboard Ball.”

    The first Cardboard Ball was a huge success and allowed Wells the funds to compete and subsequently win the competition with the large, upside-down cardboard head he created.

    The success of the first Cardboard Ball as both a fundraiser and celebration for artists and attendees inspired Wells to continue the tradition in order to raise money for the All Souls Procession. This will be the third annual Cardboard Ball and the second to benefit All Souls Procession.

    “Cardboard Ball is a participatory art party where attendees are encouraged to dress in cardboard fashions and wearable art,” explains the invitation. “Local artists create objects of wonder from cardboard for a one-night only exhibition.”

    There will also be live music, food and drink and the promise of a good time for all in attendance.

    So far, between 200 and 250 tickets have been purchased in advance, and Wells and Ford are expecting attendance to exceed 400 people. Months of preparation and planning have gone into creating the Cardboard Ball both by Wells, who is solely in charge of the fundraiser, and by the artists who will exhibit their outfits.

    Wells has dedicated a very large amount of his time and energy into putting together the Cardboard Ball, and due to other commitments, it sometimes proves to be a struggle. The final reward, however, makes it all worth it.

    “When you give people the opportunity to express themselves, remarkable things happen,” Wells said. “I never know what to expect. I most enjoy seeing people having fun being inspired and inspiring each other.”

    The Cardboard Ball will be held at the Maker House in downtown Tucson on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance from Yikes Toy Store, Pop-Cycle and Maker House for $10 and at the door for $15, with all proceeds benefitting the All Souls Procession and its community workshops.

    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter @DailyWildcat

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