The times in my adult life that I’ve been publicly nude in the light of day probably number about a half-dozen. I’ve been topless in Mexico a few times, all-the-way naked on a famous beach on a small island in Greece, and half-dressed in Hawaii.
In every place I’ve decided to bare what nature gave me, the climate has been tropical and most of the other people near me were in a similar state of undress. In other words, even though in each case I was kind of nervous about sharing my womanly assets, I wasn’t necessarily taking any chances—and didn’t have to worry about getting cold.
If I’d been at the Lake Associates Recreation Club (LARC) in Mount Vernon, I’d have soon discovered that, in the scheme of things, public nudity is no big deal. In fact, it’s just part of what draws people to the picturesque acreage, which comes complete with sunning grounds, volleyball courts, nature trails and even a waterfall or two.
At “Bare Images,” the club’s upcoming art show—which can be seen July 7-8 as part of LARC’s annual open house—the focus is on “a celebration of the nude figure.”
When I asked longtime member and property owner Astrid King if the art exhibit’s motto was also the club’s, she didn’t even refer to nudity in her answer.
“We offer a wonderful place to disconnect from the daily grind and recharge,” she says. “We’re enjoying nature…naturally!”
For King, and others of her ilk, living a clothing optional lifestyle has become second nature. As members of the American Association for Nude Recreation and participants of the Naturalist Society, those who visit or become members are free to wear whatever they want—or not.
As for the art show, King says the club was looking for an added event on the grounds during the yearly Open House and thought “Bare Images” was a “natural pairing and segue to introducing ourselves to the public.”
And although the art show is focused on the human form, the artists who will be showing their work—most of who are not members of LARC—were instructed not to submit pieces that were “erotic art of a sexual nature.” While this means that some art will simply showcase the miracles of the human body and others will focus more on abstract work, none of it should make viewers uncomfortable. (Those who come check out the space should also be aware they don’t have to disrobe to do so.)
In addition to viewing “Bare Images,” King says those who visit can also tour the grounds, peruse LARC’s gift shop, purchase food and beverages, and, if the spirit moves them, stay for the night (the group’s website has information for those looking to camp or hook up an RV).
“We’re a group of friendly, fun people,” King says. “Really, a little village of sorts.”
But back to that clothing-optional thing. When asked if it was difficult to be a nudist in Western Washington—a place where summer doesn’t typically kick in until after the 4th of July, and even after that can consist of negligible weather—King had an answer at the ready.
“Hot tubs are helpful,” she says.
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