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ArtLIVE! event at The Smith Center to benefit Las Vegas Fashion Council, 18b Arts District May 12

Typically, a mannequin is seen covered in clothing, so seeing one in its fully “nude” state can be a little unusual. Add the artistic embellishment of some of the valley’s best artists to the mix, and you have something that makes people stop and stare — and, hopefully, support the arts.

ArtLIVE!, a charity event combining fashion and art in a showcase to benefit the Las Vegas Fashion Council and 18b Arts District, is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 12 at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. The mannequins are part of what the organizers call their Madison mannequins, or when they gather them all together in one place, The Madison Army.

“This is our second year, and we’ve switched our partnership this year from the Modern, which is going through a transitional phase right now, to the 18b,” said Carrie Carter Cooper, founder of the Las Vegas Fashion Council. “We may switch it up each year or not. We’re still working on this one.”

Some of the event’s Madison mannequins were on display prior to the event at locations throughout Las Vegas, including Saks Fifth Avenue at the Fashion Show mall; Zappos’ headquarters; Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse; Delano Las Vegas; Downtown Summerlin; and LOOK Style Society at Tivoli Village and Town Square Las Vegas.

The works are by such diverse talents as Fawn Douglas, Ruzo Logic, Nancy Good and Heather Hermann and her partner Gear Duran. They are set to be part of a silent auction during ArtLIVE! Hermann was once a staple of the valley’s charity art auctions, but she has been a bit more particular in who she supports these days.

“I was being asked all the time, and it can be a lot of work,” Hermann said. “People hold charity auctions, and you get all of these great artists together in one place. The artist put in a lot of hours making the piece, and then during the event, people are not even paying any attention to it. They’re just talking about whatever and drinking their wine. They’re not concentrating on buying that work. Then there was the matter of whether the money that was raised was going to the cause or if it was just making money for the organizers. It was really frustrating.”

Consequently, the shows Hermann and Duran participate in are heavily vetted and include quality participants.

“I completely, 100 percent, support The Smith Center,” Hermann said. “I was a professional ballerina all my life until I retired, so anything that is involved with performing arts — ballet, opera, Broadway shows — I’m more interesting in getting behind.”

There’s also the matter of the building’s Art Deco architecture, which is one of the elements that she draws on for her work. The piece they contributed to the show mixes sculptural elements with airbrushed painting and design.

“We collaborated on it,” Hermann said. “We built this … how would I describe it? Kind of a late ‘80s early ‘90s Gundam (giant Japanese robot)-styled Art Deco mall wave mannequin from the future. We put all of these really futuristic devices coming out of her.”

They found the collaboration process satisfying with a lot of back-and-forth work on the piece. Duran finished it with multiple layers of clear coat automotive paints.

“There’s a whole hot rod sparkle on the top of it,” Duran said. “It’s almost holographic. When you get out in the sun, the light just blings off of it.”

Duran and Hermann plan to work on a large painting during the event, which will add to the variety of things to watch at ArtLIVE! Performances are set on five stages with more than 12 acts on the lineup, along with the art auction, a fashion show, music and dance performances, food and beverages, and art presentations created by several local artists and fashion designers.

The action on the stages is diverse and showcases the valley’s deep talent pool. Among the acts set to perform are singer and musician Josh Liberio, who has appeared on the reality television show “The Voice”; The Femmes, a female hand balancing duo; Tatania V, a juggler and circus performer; singer, songwriter and musician Noelle Chiodo; a jazz trio featuring Vanessa Chamberlin; and comedic magician PiP. Singer-songwriter Clint Holmes is set to be the master of ceremonies for the second time.

“The event is also set to honor two local entities representing both art and fashion in our community with special recognition,” Cooper said. “This year’s art visionary is celebrated art collector and philanthropist Patrick Duffy. Saks Fifth Avenue will receive the fashion visionary award.”

Tickets are $150 or $35 for students with valid ID.

Visit artlivelv.com or facebook.com/artLIVELasVegas. For information on the Las Vegas Fashion Council, visit lasvegasfashioncouncil.com. For information on 18b, visit 18b.org.

To reach East Valley View reporter F. Andrew Taylor, email ataylor@viewnews.com or call 702-380-4532.

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