The poet William Blake once wrote that art can never exist without naked beauty displayed. With Nude Nite, Blake may have been intrigued. And if so, he’d scarcely be alone.
Thousands now attend this annual juried art show, the largest nude-centric art show in North America – though it began in 1996 as most artistic ventures do: humbly. It runs for six nights, with three in Orlando and three in Tampa. The former - appropriately slated for Valentine’s Day weekend (February 13-15, 2014) - will, as in years past, celebrate the beauty of the human form in ways both traditional and avant garde.
Burlesque is a popular show fixture, and there are three performances nightly — Photo courtesy of Nude Nite
The show has a crackling energy that comes in part from its diverse attendance, says the event’s Producer/Director, Kelly Stevens.
“Artists, designers, photographers, performers, costumiers, members of the Disney and Universal teams, FX artists, art collectors . . . ” she lists. "You’re also likely to see a neighbor, a co-worker, your child’s teacher.”
All are voyeurs, as well - creative types and art lovers of all ages who enjoy seeing the action unfold.
“It’s reminiscent of a bustling European marketplace, a blend of theater and art that attracts virtually every demographic," Stevens says.
Curious newcomers will find a carnival of art, animate and inanimate, to challenge their conceptions of the human form — Photo courtesy of Nude Nite
Nude Nite showcases more than 200 works; paintings, photographs, sculpture and experimental installations mesh with performance art. Pieces represent a range of styles and sizes. Interested in a new piece for your collection? It’s all for sale, with prices ranging from roughly $200 and up.
“It’s 25,000 square feet of art and entertainment,” notes Stevens, “and a very competitive show, as well.”
Not to mention an entertaining evening out.
“Attendees can expect to see performance artists, world-class body painters, cirque-style aerialists, stilt walkers, interactive installations and three burlesque shows each evening,” Stevens explains.
SoDo’s OLV Cafe will be on site, as well, serving food for purchase – along with several fully stocked bars.
Previous attendees will enjoy a whole new show, as it changes each year.
“There are many surprises and characters which keep things interesting and mysterious,” teases Stevens. “This is why people keep coming back. Nude Nite’s warehouse shows are really something, transforming an industrial space into a sophisticated pop-up gallery. It’s something of an art miracle.”
Nude Nite is part performance and part gallery, though oftentimes the lines blur — Photo courtesy of Nude Nite
The event’s approach may not be for everyone, but Stevens says it celebrates the body beautiful.
“Nude Nite is discerning with regard to standard of content, both on the wall and off. Our presentation is tasteful, professional and contemporary,” says Stevens.
While what she dubs “Las Vegas-style” nudity (male and female) is apparent, “The greater message is of a contagious, bold concept reshaping the way we experience art.”
Nude Night is a 21+ event and runs from 6 p.m. to midnight. Tickets go for $20-25, and they're available online or at the door. Valet and self-parking are available. Food and drinks are not included in ticket price.