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Harrisburg costume designer returns to her alma mater to help with campus plays

It has been only a few years since Amanda Owens ’10 graduated from Messiah College with a degree in art history and minor in studio art, but she already is finding an artist’s niche in Harrisburg.

“The great thing about a liberal arts degree is I learned to recognize interdisciplinary connections everywhere,” said Owens, “such as the connection between planning a store layout and planning a gallery layout. In recognizing those connections and being able to express them, I become a more valuable member of the workforce.”

With the goal to revitalize the Harrisburg community through art-based nonprofit organizations, she is involved in several projects. One of her roles involves working as a costume designer with Harrisburg’s Gamut Theatre, collaborating on several productions suchs as “The Jungle Book,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Coriolanus.”

“I’ve always enjoyed working with textiles, but I find I have little patience for the finer details involved with clothing production,” said Owens. “The fun thing about costume design is that you make these really fantastical or beautiful pieces and totally let the small, finishing details fall by the wayside because the audience will never see it or even know.”

In addition to working with Gamut Theatre, she is a founding member of The MakeSpace, a studio and gallery that provides arts programming and resources for local artists. “We want to help artists get the resources they need to make things,” said Owens.

Most recently, she began working as an adjunct instructor for Messiah’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She designed costumes for “The Good Doctor,” which opened Nov. 14, 2013.

Using the skills she gained at Messiah, Owens helps the area art scene flourish by fulfilling several roles.

Story by Adela Antal ’16. Photography by Dani Fresh. This profile originally appeared in the fall 2013 issue of The Bridge.

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