Here is a cool public art project that combines fashion, fun and fundraising in a Project Runway style competition. Using blank, full-size mannequins as their canvas 100 local designers, artists, retailers and community leaders will create individual expressions of both art and fashion to celebrate the opening of the new Santa Monica Place shopping center.

The idea is to transform a blank mannequin into something artful and extraordinary. Just like in Project Runway there is a twist to this competition.
Public Art Project with Mannequins

The mannequins won’t be “dressed” the way shoppers see them in stores; instead, they ‘ll be designed using a broad range of artistic materials –including paints, beads, clay, papier-mâché, metal, wire, mosaic glass, ceramic tiles, shoes, eyeglasses, sea glass, leather, jewels, fabric, hardware, stones, plaster, and other recycled objects and more. How cool is that?

The Mannequin Collective is the organization behind this project and they did this last year with the opening of a mall in Arizona. Simon Doonan, the creative director of Barneys New York, designed one of the mannequins last year and he is going to design one for this competition as well.

Simon Doonan design for the Mannequin Collective
Simon Doonan design for the Mannequin Collective

Santa Monica Place is highlighting the launch of The Mannequin Collective with unmarked appearances by unadorned mannequins throughout Santa Monica and the Westside.

The Mannequin Collective also benefits Otis College of Art and Design. The top five mannequins will be chosen by a jury of local artists and community leaders. Santa Monica Place will donate $10,000 to support scholarships at Otis, in the name of the person who is the Grand Prize Winner.

Similar public art projects have been done using life size cows in Chicago and hearts in San Francisco, but this is the first time I have heard of using mannequins. If your organization wants to do a project like this give us a call – we have lots of recycled mannequins for this purpose.