April 25, 2016 | by Chelsea Yaeger
ArtWalk Rallies Behind Nude Art

Artists and appreciators alike showed their support for nude art and for local artist Nicole Touchet at April’s ArtWalk in downtown Lafayette.

It all started when Touchet, a 26-year-old UL Lafayette graduate, was asked to remove or cover her nude art in Gallerie Touchet at Gordon Square.

According to The Independent, Property One, Inc, the company that manages Gordon Square, sent her an email stating “part of the agreement to rent you the space was to not display nude pictures.” The email cites condition No. 5 in the lease, which does not mention nudity.

From there, Nude ArtWalk was born.

“When things happened with Nicole, we reached out and said, ‘You know, if you’d like to hang your things here, that that would be great,’” said Elsa Dimitriadis, marketing coordinator for Theatre 810. “But all of these artists kind of came out of the woodwork and said ‘Why don’t we all support by showing our nudes?’ And so we have, I think, about 75 works hanging in the space tonight.”

Dimitriadis said that spearheaded the involvement of different venues.

“I think there’s a total of 10 venues that are participating and over — I would say 40 artists — that are participating across citywide,” she said.

There were over 150 pieces of nude art in the show, according to Touchet.

“It’s just a beautiful thing that everyone’s come together in support of me, but also in support of nudity and art in Lafayette,” Touchet said.

One participating venue, Carpe Diem! Gelato – Espresso Bar, set up a chalkboard on which people could draw.

“We encourage people to create art now,” said Rick Rowan, Carpe Diem manager. “And if it happens to be of the artistic nude persuasion, then all the more power to them. We just especially believe in artistic freedom.”

The Vertical Barre hosted live body paintings in its space.

“We’re celebrating the human form,” said Laci Lopez, owner of The Vertical Barre.

The artist who painted her decided to, according to Lopez, desexualize the human form by showing the muscles.

“Lafayette has a large, really friendly, welcoming art community,” said Touchet.

ArtWalk is every second Saturday of the month in downtown Lafayette.

Garrett Ohlmeyer contributed the visual elements to this story.

I'm a sophomore journalism major at UL Lafayette. I'm interested in culture, justice, living and growing up and out. As much as I love exploring, I'm totally a homebody. If you're looking for me, I'm probably at home studying for the LSAT under a well-worn quilt with a flashlight and my cat, Mushka. I speak three and a half languages, and yet, I'm still have trouble articulating who I am in this bio.

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