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RAGS Wearable Art Show to top $1.5 million in total donations for YWCA in 2016

// Popular event celebrates 22 years of supporting YWCA Pierce County's lifesaving domestic violence services

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The 22nd annual RAGS Wearable Art sale and gallery competition will take place March 10-13 at Larson Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma in Fife. For over two decades now, the YWCA of Pierce County has been offering life saving domestic violence services to Tacomans through the funding of the annual RAGS gala. Throughout the years, the gala has become a staple in providing nearly $1,402,000 for the YWCA Pierce County’s domestic violence services and plans to bring the 22nd year total to over $1.5 million with the 2016 event.

Each year the proceeds of the RAGS gala help to support a variety of essential programs for the community in prevention of and protection against domestic violence for our citizens. YWCA programs range from an emergency shelter program that provides secure and confidential housing to families who are fleeing immediate danger due to domestic violence and who would otherwise be homeless, to a free civil legal services program that helps survivors access protection orders and relief through the family court. YWCA Deputy Director Karin White states, “These programs are critical to helping survivors heal, as well as helping break the cycle of violence from one generation to the next. This comprehensive array of programming served over 14,672 people in the last fiscal year, of which about 6,121 was through in-person services and another 8,551 was through hotline calls.”

While being a meaningful fundraiser for a needed cause in Tacoma, the RAGS gala is a unique way to celebrate local artists here in the Pacific Northwest, as well.

The event is a boutique style wearable art show featuring creative clothing, fashion accessories and unusual jewelry from more than 70 locally, regionally, and nationally acclaimed artists. A third of each RAGS artist’s sales benefit the YWCA’s domestic violence prevention and intervention programs. Some of the artists whose work will be featured at the gala and the sale are Karen Gelbard, The Oregon Weaver, who offers woven jackets, vests and accessories; Meredith Arsenau of Poulsbo, creator of laminated cotton bags; and Elisa Saucy of Oregon, who calls her sterling silver jewelry “affirmative adornment,” to name a few of the artists participating.

The blend of art, fashion, shopping and fundraising is what makes RAGS significant to its many loyal supporters according to Susan Boynton, RAGS chair. “RAGS draws on passions that run deep among shoppers, artists and volunteers,” says Boynton. Whether you are a returning supporter or a first timer, attending the 22nd annual RAGS gala is the perfect way to show your community support in an event that blends art and creativity with support and care for the wellbeing of our community members.

The RAGS show is open to the public at no charge at Larson Mercedes-Benz of Tacoma, 1701 Alexander Ave., just off Interstate 5 in Fife. Show hours are Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The weekend begins with a ticketed gala preview event on Thursday, March 10. RAGS Marketing Chair Margaret Ross states, “While our guests who attend the gala have the first look at the wonderful array of wearable art in the form of clothing, jewelry and accessories, there will be a full array of merchandise for shoppers during the regular sale and show Friday through Sunday.”

The gala ticket price is $70 and tickets may be purchased online. Also available for purchase at the website are RAGS gift certificates in any denomination. For more information about the 22nd annual RAGS Wearable Art Show and to purchase tickets, visit

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