Body Beautiful Art in Gulfport
Originally invented “Nude Night”, the Gulfport Chamber of Merchants launches “Body Beautiful” to recognize all physique and spread positivity for Art Walk on Friday July 2 from 5 to 9 pm throughout downtown Gulfport.
The fourth quarterly event is less a theme than a city-wide art project.
“It’s campy, it’s sultry, it’s just fun,” said Brenda McMahon, GMC art committee member and gallery owner. “The idea is that we all have a body – why not celebrate it? “
On the evening of the event, patrons will see shapely canvases, body jewelry and sculptures that reflect a more bare ideal.
“I painted a bunch of nudes and there’s not really a place to display them – hotels and restaurants can’t show this type of work,” said Lisa Taylor, a GMC member who pushed the idea. “I loved the idea of giving people a chance to show art with their bodies.”
In addition to the monthly jury art show, there will be four volunteers painted head to toe with body art strolling the streets, a belly dancer and a ‘sexy’ fire artist at the North End Taphouse.
For those wondering about the colorful torsos that keep several GMC affiliated companies together, they’re all part of the fun.
“I was like, ‘How can we do art with our bodies? “, Said Taylor. “Then came the idea of the human canvas. “
Julie Haura’s fiercely feminine charcoal paintings will be the face of the event, with Haura the featured artist on Friday and Artist of the Month at the Brenda McMahon Gallery throughout July.
“His pieces are so intense yet so sensual,” McMahon said. “It’s very hard work, very emotionally provocative. We are delighted to have it.
Starting with 10 “naked” and virgin human busts, the GMC quickly had to cap participation at 20 sculptures.
The artists were not given any direction, which resulted in a mix of painted, ceramic, cloth draped and beaded submissions.
“It just exploded,” Taylor said. “We ended up allowing 22 because we got such a response. “
Taylor herself created a Frida Kahlo-inspired female bust, titled simply “Frida,” and draped in painted linen inspired by Kahlo’s Spanish-style clothing.
Taylor, former owner of Red Elephant Yoga and Massage Studio, took inspiration from Kahlo’s iconic pieces; like Kahlo, she created while battling an illness that left her bedridden.
“Some days I feel like I have a lead costume,” Taylor said, referring to his battle with an autoimmune disease. “I couldn’t think of a more inspiring person to paint in bed. “
Taylor’s piece will be shown at Gulfport Realty, 2902 Beach Blvd. S., for the month of June.
The busts, with five male frames and the rest female, will be auctioned off on the Porch of Stellas, 2914 Beach Blvd. S, at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Eighty percent of the proceeds will go to artists, with the remainder going to a Gulfport Artist Grant Fund to provide a selected artist with business training.
Gulfport artist Leslee Cramer donates an additional 10% to a nonprofit close to his heart, Pink Concussions, an organization dedicated to providing care to women and girls who have suffered from brain damage .
Cramer herself moved to Gulfport in 2019 after a severe concussion forced her to step down from her post as a high school ceramics teacher.
His piece, entitled “Bejeweled Pride Goddess”, a collection of ceramic creations mixing “found objects”, will be on display at the Zaiya ArtiZen market before the auction.
“I’ve done parts like this in the past, putting together parts that are separate and put together in a new and interesting way,” Cramer said. “I really found my tribe and my ability to create here in Gulfport, and I want to show it.”
Consult the complete list of participants and coordination venues on fb.com/brendamcmahongallery.
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