Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Arty mannequins to strike a pose for AIDS research

SAFETY HARBOR — In a little, old-style barbershop, artist and barber Brian Feist daubs oil pastels on a female fiberglass torso. A montage of Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea and a blazing sunset emerges.

Clearly, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist is posthumously trapped in a woman's body, but with a massive marlin on the line and a polydactyl cat at his side, does he really care?

Hemingway, or "Papa," will soon be headed to the Key West Bahama House, a vacation rental property near his old stomping grounds. A portion of the sale of the $1,325 mannequin will be donated to an AIDS research organization.

Feist, 57, is volunteering his time and talent for the "Divas & Dudes" project, the latest endeavor of the nonprofit Outdoor Arts Foundation. He is among several Tampa Bay area artists who are decorating male and female mannequin torsos in odd, charming and family-friendly ways for purchase.

Heather Richardson, 52, glued tiny pieces of cut tile and mirror to a "mermanish" Dude in her Safety Harbor studio on a recent day. The merman's nipple areas were covered with what appeared to be two small ceramic jar lids.

"I picked these up at Art Basel (in Miami Beach) and knew they would come in handy one day," she said.

Prices for a Dude or Diva start at $575 and top out at $1,775, depending on size of the torso and complexity of the artwork. Ten to 20 percent of the proceeds benefits the nonprofit AIDS research organization of the patron's choice.

Four institutions — the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the AIDS Research Institute at the University of California at San Francisco, the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and the AIDS Research Alliance — are suggested.

Since 1999, the Outdoor Arts Foundation has worked with local artists to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable causes, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Florida Holocaust Museum and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Localized exhibits include the fiberglass elephants used during the Republican National Convention, manatees, sea turtles, doghouses and playhouses. Executive director Jay Goulde estimates that the foundation has organized more than 60 art-in-public-places projects so far.

"This is our first national and hopefully international project using artists from Tampa Bay and beyond," he said. "It's also the first time we'll have a virtual gallery of the artwork."

Divas & Dudes will be viewable through social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Ten torsos are nearly complete, and another batch will be started soon. Goulde is recruiting artists from San Francisco, Boston and Great Britain. The fact that the torsos are lightweight makes them easily shippable all over the world, he said.

"We thought torsos which represent the human form would be a good match for a disease that attacks the immune system of humans," Goulde said.

Contact Terri Bryce Reeves at

fast facts

Dudes & Divas

For information about the Divas & Dudes project, contact Jay Goulde at (727) 954-4025 or jgoulde@ or visit

Arty mannequins to strike a pose for AIDS research 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 11:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)


    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  3. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb


    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  4. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.