It’s not summer until the naked choir sings. Coming to Washington Square Park in July, NYC Bodypainting Day will feature a first-ever musical performance by about 60 fully nude women and men taking part in the annual celebration of body positivity.
Taking place Saturday, July 14, NYC Bodypainting Day will expand its art form beyond painting to a song circle “promoting acceptance of all people, regardless of race, gender and political affiliation.” Spectators are invited to lend their own voices to classic songs like “Imagine” by John Lennon and “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie, with accompaniment provided by Washington Square Park pianist Colin Huggins.
You can watch the brave crew of human canvases — full nudity is legal in New York for artistic purposes — get painted from noon to 4 p.m., or even sign up to be one of them! The naked choir performance starting at 4:15 p.m. under the Washington Square Arch.
For the event’s fifth year, the theme is Movement — as in the models are moving canvases, but also “rising above the divisive politics of the day is a movement in and of itself,” Golub explains.
Accepting each other for who we are remains the goal of Bodypainting Day: “Art has the ability to break through the walls that separate us. We are not pro- or anti-Trump, pro- or anti-transgender, or anything else.”
After the show, models will pose for a photoshoot session at the fountain before marching through Greenwich Village to Union Square Park. They’ll then take a double-decker bus over the Manhattan Bridge for a fundraising afterparty at Project Cozy (398 Broome St.) beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Events in Washington Square Park are open to the public and free to attend. Tickets to the afterparty are $75 in advance, $100 at the door. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Human Connection Arts, which produces Bodypainting Day as well as other public art events.
Founded by artist Andy Golub in 2014, NYC Bodypainting Day is a chance to think about all the ways we censor our bodies, whether it’s clothing or Instagram filters, because we’re told they’re just not what’s considered beautiful.
Golub is not against clothing, just how we tend to use it: as a way to hide what we see as flaws, as opposed to another way to express ourselves. “I just think it’s best to not feel shame towards our bodies,” he told Metro earlier this year, “because that’s who we are.”
Several other cities, including Philadelphia, San Francisco, Brussels and Amsterdam have all held their own Bodypainting Day as well. There was an even braver version of NYC Bodypainting Day this past February, when naked models took over the Times Square bleachers for the first-ever Polar Bear Paint.