Nude Night Philly Bared All For the Sake of Art (And a Great Cause)
Lots of folks in the neighborhood may know Victor Perez, the man behind Sk8 Lamps who’s often found hanging around the El Bar. But what some people may not know is that Perez has a history of throwing nude-centric art shows for the benefit of breast cancer awareness. Perez first launched Nude Night in Orlando more than a decade ago and last week brought the benefit show to Philly for the first time.
Nude Night Philly is an eclectic artistic event that aims to raise money to benefit breast cancer research. Local artists were selected to display their art and put it up for sale, with 35 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Tyanna Foundation, a local organization fighting against breast cancer.
“We’re fighting cancer with nude artwork,” said Perez, Nude Night Philly’s Curator, Promoter and Producer, “We’re exposing Philly to nude artwork. I find it really hard to believe that there’s not a place to show off nude artwork. We’re putting nude artwork out in the light for all to see.”
The 21+ event featured tastefully done nude artwork from featured artist Orlando R. Quevedo, body paintings from Mr. Perego, paintings, video projections, sculptures, photography and aerial acrobatics by Shannon Sexton. DJ Humble, DJ Ashley, DJ Charles Francis, and a variety of other musicians and performance artists brought their sounds into the mix.
Nude Night’s venue, Sculpture Courtyard (1714 N. Mascher St.), was bustling with action. The area was immense and filled with hidden treasures. Everywhere you’d look, you’d find a new piece of art — some from Nude Night artists, other’s certainly from the locale’s namesake.
The bulk of the art was presented in the main gallery: a large open space, thoughtfully laid out, with a single large ring hung from the ceiling where the aerial acrobatics would be performed. The nude form was present in all shapes, sizes and levels of abstraction. The rest of the ample space in the garden was filled with music, a table spread of food from local eateries, and tarot card readers.
Nude Night has always been important to Perez, and he was excited to bring the event to Philadelphia for the first time. “I had a good friend who passed away from breast cancer so I wanted to do something to raise money for breast cancer,” Perez said. “Philly is really about that, you know, October is breast cancer awareness month and everything’s pink.”
The organization benefitting from Nude Night was the Tyanna Foundation, named after Tyanna Barre O’Brien, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 1990 at the age of 48. According to the organization’s website, her daughters Anne, Bridget, Megan, Sara and Kate O’Brien founded the Tyanna Foundation. Since its inception in 1998, the organization and its volunteers have worked tirelessly to increase awareness and generate money for breast cancer services, education, treatment and patient care.
Each year, the Tyanna Foundation holds BreastFest, a yearly event that takes place in Athens, Baltimore, Dewey Beach, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The all-volunteer organization raises funds that stay local to each BreastFest city.
Darragh and Beth from the Tyanna Foundation were at Nude Night.
“We keep everything local,” Darragh said. “Everything we raise goes to Fox Chase Cancer Center to support the mammography bus, which goes to all the areas around Philadelphia where women cannot afford to get a mammogram.”
Beth also explained why the Tyanna Foundation was drawn to getting involved with Nude Night Philly.
“It’s something totally different, outside of the box and something we’ve never done before,” Beth said. “I think it’s a great way to draw more people to get involved with cancer and with the Tyanna Organization and get our name out there.”
Nude Night was also a great way for local artists to get their names out there. One of the artists involved in the exhibition was Mary Pat Coyle. Coyle lives in Fishtown and contributed two medium-sized figure drawings done in water color.
“Early in the summer, a friend of mine found a flyer [for Nude Night] and passed it onto a bunch of us,” Coyle said. “I always draw from a model when I get a chance so I have a lot of nudes. I had a couple that were framed already so it was a no-brainer. I’m an art teacher so I don’t have a whole lot of time to do artwork, so when I do have a chance for a drop in session I like to draw from a figure.”
As were most in attendance, Coyle was very impressed with the event space. “When I got here [to drop off my artwork], there was a gym class going on — the mats were out and the kids were bouncing all over the place,” she said. “[Victor] said this is going to be our main gallery area, so I started imagining the way it could look. When I got here I was like, ‘oh my god, this is so impressive.’ It’s been really, really cool how it all came together.”
Perez plans on making Nude Night Philly an annual occurrence and is already looking for folks who want to get involved in next year’s event.
“We’re always looking for artists, sculptors, musicians, video artists, at long as it’s tastefully done, nude artwork,” Perez said.
Coyle’s already expressed interest in coming again next year, saying, “I’ll bet you I can find a few more people who’d want to come to this and will be equally impressed.”
Want to get involved with Nude Night Philly? Reach out to Victor Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. •
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