Slay the Runway- Creating Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ Youth Expression


Slay the Runway offers fashion design, performance and sewing classes for LGBTQIA+ teens at Longmont’s Firehouse Art Center and Boulder Public Library’s Building 61 Maker Space. At the conclusion of an eight-week session, students participate in a professionally produced runway show. In addition to garment construction and design, participants will work with make-up artists and choreographers to refine their debuts. This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts in Society Fund.

Slay the Runway- Creating Safe Spaces for LGBTQ+ Youth Expression
In Slay The Runway, students attend Fall fashion design classes culminating in a Performance and Caregivers Conference, where LGBTQIA+ community experts provide education for youth and families.  Our goal is provide art education in a celebrating space and then helping provide education to create those safe spaces at home.
What:  Free LGBTQIA+ Focused Fashion Design and sewing classes offered in Longmont and Boulder. The class will run for 8 weeks and conclude with a professionally produced runway show at the B2 Center for Media, Arts, and Performance in CU Boulder’s Atlas Institute. In addition to garment construction and design, participants will work with make-up artists and choreographers to refine their final performance.
Where:  Two in-person cohorts, one in Boulder and one in Longmont (Small Classes following County  COVID guidelines)
Longmont: The Firehouse Art Center, 667 4th Avenue, Longmont, 80501
Boulder: Bldg 61
Who:  The workshop is open to Colorado residents ages 13-18. Everyone is welcome, but all participants must respect that this is a safe space for LGBTQIA+ expression and celebration. 
“Slay the Runway–Designing Safer Spaces for LGBTQIA+ Youth Expression” is a four-part program to connect LGBTQIA+ middle school high school students, and allies, to their greater community through creative self-expression. This program combines the fun of Fashion Design Camp and includes a culminating performance, with an educational conference led by local LGBTQIA+ organizations to help caregivers create safe spaces at home and in their community.  
How to Apply: Complete this digital form and submit it by July 1, 2021. Please review the application and send questions to
  1. Learning Basic Sewing and Fashion Design Skills: Middle/high school students will create runway-ready looks in an LGBTQIA+ affirming environment over a series of weekly evening classes. Participants will design outfits, purchase fabrics, sew, and accessorize their final look. All materials and equipment will be provided.
  2. Connecting with the LGBTQIA+ Community: LGBTQIA+ youth gain an opportunity to connect to peers, older teens, and LGBTQIA+ designers, performers, and educators during both the weekly classes and for the culminating Fashion Show.
  3. Family and Caregiver Workshop: A supportive home environment is key for the mental and emotional stability of LGBTQIA+ youth, but their parents and caregivers often struggle to find support for their families. Local LGBTQIA+ organizations will provide families a safe space to ask questions and access community resources to support them in affirming their child. Workshops for parents and caregivers will be held on the afternoon of the Fashion Show, while students are getting ready to perform.
  4. Slay the Runway Extravaganza: After short tutorials on runway walks, makeup, and hair, the kids take the stage and show off their accomplishments to their families and friends, allowing all participants to celebrate together either virtually or in-person (county guidelines permitting). The performance will be produced in CU Boulder’s state-of-art Black Box Theater and managed by industry professionals.
As participants in Slay The Runway, students are given the freedom to push their design and construction skills to new levels. Student workshops provide a supportive emotional experience for LGBTQIA+ youth, allies, and their families. 
Slay the Runway is generously supported by Arts in Society.  Due to generous grants, we are able to offer construction, design, and style instruction for free to accepted students.  Spots are limited and applications will open in Spring 2021. Classes will begin in Sept 2021.

Construction and Design Classes

During weekly design sessions, instructors start with simple projects
that improve student sewing and design skills. As confidence builds,
students are challenged to develop their own self identity as they
create an outfit for the showcase.

Developing a Look, Hair, and Make-up

At the fashion show, members from the Drag community will teach the kids how to present themselves with flair. The students end with unveiling something they’ve created in their style and voice while surrounded by a community sharing their life experience.  The Show will end the Caregiver’s Conferences and students will plan, organize, and lead the performance with assistance from Program mentors.

Instructors (Boulder and Longmont Cohorts)


Elaine Waterman- Longmont Cohort

Elaine Waterman (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Firehouse Art Center, as well as an arts educator and artivist. Elaine is also the Coordinator for BMoCA’s Studio Project Internship which is being offered in conjunction with the Firehouse Art Center. Her biggest passion is helping young artists develop their artistic voice.  Elaine’s love of fashion started in her youth and led her to a career as a fashion designer in NYC.  She now channels her creative energies into costumes and cosplay.

Slay the Runway came about through Elaine’s fashion design camps at the Longmont Museum, her collaborations in the Colorado Cosplay Community and her passion for supporting and celebrating every child’s creative voice.  A parent of a non-binary teen, Elaine understands the importance of having a space to create freely, and she hopes that Slay the Runway can be that place!

Stephen Frost

Steven Frost- Boulder Cohort

Born in USA, 1981
2000-2004 BFA, New York State College of Ceramics & Design at Alfred University
2009-2011 MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Steven Frost (they/them) is an instructor in the Department of Media Studies and interdisciplinary artist. His research focuses on textiles, memes, queer history, pop culture, and community development in DIY spaces and libraries. In his creative work he often uses textiles — their association with the body and garments evoke tactile memories. Using weaving, he combines traditional materials like yarn and cotton with non-traditional materials from a range of sources, exploring the ways history and time are embedded in materials. His artworks evoke specific narratives and stories, referencing aspects of his personal and family history, and the history of the LGBTQIA+ people, among other topics. In workshops and interactive performance events, he works to amplify marginalized voices and foster communities to produce their own forms of representation.

Frost has been featured in solo and two-person exhibitions at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (Boulder, CO), Basement Projects (Santa Ana, CA), CU Boulder Art Museum (Boulder, CO), 350 E 3rd/ ArtX (Long Beach, CA), Robert Bills Contemporary (Chicago, IL), Coop Gallery (Nashville, TN), and Pleasant Plains Workshop (Washington, DC) and in group exhibitions at Union Hall Gallery (Denver, CO), the Center for Visual Arts (Denver, CO), Alto Gallery (Denver, CO), Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art (Rancho Cucamonga, CA), Imersten (Vienna, Austria), ACRE Gallery (Chicago, IL), Chicago Cultural Center (Chicago, IL), and the AU Museum at the Katzen (Washington, DC) among other venues. He’s recently taught workshops at the Art Student’s League (Denver, CO), Redline Contemporary Art Center (Denver, CO), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL), and the Haystack School of Crafts (Deer Isle, ME). Frost is the founder of the Colorado Sewing Rebellion, an offshoot of the original Sewing Rebellion founded by Frau Fiber (Carole Francis Lung). He is a co-founder of the Experimental Weaving Residency (with Dr. Laura Devendorf). He is also the Faculty Director of the B2 Center for Media, Arts, & Performance at the Atlas Institute (Boulder, CO) and a Library Commissioner for the City of Boulder, CO. Frost is also is a recipient of several other honors including the Lenore G. Tawney Fellowship and the Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellowship.

Our Partners

Thank you to Out Boulder County, PFLAG and Trans Youth Education & Support for participating in our Caregiver’s Conference.  Thank you to Arts in Society for funding this important project!

Workshops to be Offered at the Caregivers Conference: