Nude posing for art class continues despite concerns

By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

Despite recent safety concerns, the art department will continue to offer nude posing for its painting and drawing courses.

“When people find out about nude modeling on campus, they come for voyeuristic reasons rather than academic reasons,” said Tiffany O’Kane, the office assistant who hires the department’s models.

Most of the concern comes from instances on other campuses, O’Kane said, but she would not specify about the instances or which campuses have dealt with them.

“We’ve had one or two instances recently and we’re trying to mitigate that,” she said.

Alison Denyer, an art professor, said there is a correlation between increased publicity of the posing program and problems with voyeurs. Denyer stressed that the first priority of the department is the safety of the models, students and staff. O’Kane said the majority of the classes are for undraped poses.

“We have a couple of classes that are draped, though that’s the exception, not the rule,” she said.

The majority of the department’s 18 models are students, O’Kane said. The department hires models on and off campus. However, because of the economic downturn and, subsequently, tight budgets, the department is not hiring models.

O’Kane said the department gives all of its models a choice to pose draped or undraped. The average posing assignment typically runs for two three-hour class periods. Models receive $15 per hour of posing. The pay rate is the same for draped and undraped modeling.

“We’ve had a few people who are strictly draped,” O’Kane said. “We’ll take them anyway and we’ll give them those classes first. I haven’t had anyone walk away because of that, but I’m sure it’s happened in the past.”

Mark Edwards, a local business owner, began modeling for the art department at the U last year, though he has been modeling for about 25 years.

Undraped modeling does not bother Edwards.

“In a fine arts setting, generally there’s nothing immodest or pornographic,” he said. “It’s nothing you’d expect teenagers to giggle about in the locker room.”

In college, Edwards pursued a degree in fine arts, but did not have the technical skill to go further.

“I can’t draw and I can’t paint,” he said. “I got into modeling in college. Modeling is my contribution to the fine arts.”

Edwards said that posing in the art department has made him wish he was a student again.

“The staff knows exactly what they are looking for with all the models and with me especially,” he said. “When I was in college, the staff was not as professional. The students are very fortunate to have these instructors.”

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