NEW YORK (AP) — About 100 naked people gathered on Saturday to paint the town red — and blue, green, orange, magenta and neon yellow.
Dozens of artists used the naked bodies as canvases on the third annual NYC Bodypainting Day, which celebrates freedom of artistic expression and body acceptance.
The volunteer models, including Charles Darius, doffed their duds in Manhattan's Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, outside the United Nations headquarters, for a few hours of painting before boarding double-decker buses and taking their art show throughout the city.
"I enjoy being nude," said Darius, whose parents are from Europe and took him to nude beaches often when he was a child. "It's a pleasure to indulge in that enjoyment on a sidewalk in Manhattan."
Onlookers, many snapping photos and shooting videos on their cellphones, shared words of encouragement with the models, who endured two- or three-hour painting sessions on an overcast day with temperatures in the low 70s.
Artist Andy Golub, who painted bodybuilder Vanessa Adams, created NYC Bodypainting Day as a way to promote human connection through art. He said he and the other artists were creating art inspired by the models' "inner beauty," the theme for this year's event.
Adams, participating for the first time, said she had a bit of the jitters standing naked in front of scores of people.
"Let's hurry up and paint my face so I'll be incognito," she said. "If I'm green, no one will know it's me."
Public nudity is legal in the city when it's for artistic purposes, such as a play, a performance or an art show. But Golub and model Zoe West were arrested in 2011 during a bodypainting project in Times Square. West sued over the arrest, and the city paid her a $15,000 settlement.
Golub said Bodypainting Day, which also takes place in Amsterdam and is scheduled for Brussels, makes "the world a better place" by benefiting everyone involved. He said the artists get to share their voices with the public, the models get to embrace their bodies and the public gets to appreciate all the types of people on display.
Some of the NYC Bodypainting Day event's artists, including Matt Deifer, also painted models at last summer's Philly Naked Bike Ride.