Halifax woman exhibits artwork featuring dresses she donates to charity

Sharon Cave helps teens dance the night away by donating used prom dresses to the Glass Slipper Organization

Sharon Cave doesn’t ever want to see a beautiful dress go to waste.

The Halifax artist recently started an initiative she calls the 100 Dresses Project. She is creating 100 paintings and sketches of prom dresses that are either purchased from thrift stores or that people donate to her.

Her dress paintings and sketches are now on display at the Craig Gallery in Dartmouth. She currently has 30 artworks on the walls, and will add more to the collection as she gathers, paints and sketches more dresses. Some of her paintings are created using oil pastels, while her sketches are made with charcoal.

The 100 Dresses Project exhibition at the Craig Gallery in Dartmouth.   Sarah Khan

The project focuses on the idea that reusing and repurposing is better than recycling. Cave reached out to her acquaintances to see if they knew of young women who were willing to part with dresses they no longer wear. That’s how she received many of her dresses.

“It’s absolutely incredible that people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on a dress for one prom,” said Cave. “Some people stuff them in a closet for years and never even look at them.”

Every dress Cave paints is donated to the Glass Slipper Organization, a non-profit which collects prom dresses and gives them to girls in need.

“We’re going to pass these beautiful dresses to an organization that can hand them out to girls who cannot afford hundreds of dollars for a dress,” she said.

Cave moved to Canada from England in the 1980’s and spent many years living on a farm in Alberta. It’s been almost six years now since she moved to Halifax.

“When we were out in the farm, it was quite lonely at times, especially in winters. I ended up finding some pastels. That’s when I painted my first piece,” Cave recalled.

One of the paintings at the 100 Dresses Project exhibition.   Sharon Cave

Cave said the idea for the dress project came to her in 2017. She had moved into a new residence which used to house a vintage store. There she found a satin dress and first started painting images of dresses on canvas.

Now, when people hear about Cave’s 100 dresses project, they instantly give her the dresses they no longer use.

With the support of the Glass Slipper Organization, she hopes to provide as many girls as possible with beautiful prom dresses this spring.

“I get a mental satisfaction in painting them and then passing them on. This is a long project with a lot of thought going into it,” said Cave.

Her 100 Dresses Project exhibit runs until March 1. If you would like to donate a dress to the cause, contact Cave or the Glass Slipper Organization.

Sarah Khan

Sarah Khan

I am from India studying journalism at the University of Kings College. I love going on hikes and cooking!

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