Madalynne Dougall models Kathleen Morgan’s condom creation at the 2018 Telluride AIDS Benefit Gala Fashion Show. Model auditions for the 2020 show are Thursday and Friday at the Michael D. Palm Theatre. (File photo)

If the Telluride AIDS Benefit were a model at its Gala Fashion Show, it would still be in the dressing room, not quite ready for the runway. Preparations, though, are fully underway for the 2020 event, which includes the Student Fashion Show on Feb. 20, Sneak Peak Fashion Show on Feb. 27, Gala Fashion Show and wrap party on Feb. 29, and the Designer Sample Sale on March 2.

First up are fashion show model auditions, which take place Thursday and Friday at the Michael D. Palm Theatre.

“The auditions are open to all genders, body types, talents, and to all ages 18 and over who are not current high school students,” TAB Executive Director Jessica Galbo said. “On Thursday and Friday, there are time slots available at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Prepare to arrive 10 minutes early to your audition to fill out paperwork.”

Madalynne Dougall is a veteran of the TAB runway and urged anyone thinking of auditioning to go for it.

“Being a TAB model is so much fun,” Dougall said. “You get to work with incredible artists, make new friends and challenge yourself. For some models, it’s their first time on stage, but you would never know. I think that there’s a special bond built throughout the rehearsal period within the whole team. That bond is both uplifting and grounding at the same time. It’s why we have so much fun when performance night comes along and you can see that chemistry on stage.”

She added, “You don’t need to be a model to model. Whether you’re wanting to contribute to a great cause, get more involved with your community or just have a bunch of fun, just do it. TAB is a colorful rainbow of unique people, the best you can be is yourself.”

In addition to the model auditions, there is the deadline Friday for applications from Wearable Art artists to participate in this year’s event. The fashion show’s inclusion of the Wearable Art line, unique artwork created to be worn and displayed, is a nod to Robert Presley, the talented and creative local costume and clothing designer who passed away in 1997. Friends of Presley’s founded TAB in 1994 to support him after he was diagnosed with AIDS.

“I urge local artists and designers to apply,” Galbo said of the call for Wearable Art artists. “It’s just incredible as an artist to see your design walk the runway, and designers get tickets to see the Sneak Peek show.”

Longtime TAB volunteer Kathleen Morgan, who oversees the Wearable Art line, added that artists from across the region, state and nation are also encouraged to submit their ideas. The application deadline, including submission of the artist’s sketches and mood boards, is Jan. 17. The theme for this year’s Wearable Art line is “lumens.”

“Lumens was chosen to shine some light in a creative way,” Morgan said. “The number of interesting and inexpensive lighting products in the market is rapidly expanding and easily accessible and should make for some striking and super creative designs at this year’s show.”

She continued, “We are continually surprised by the incredible creativity expressed by the artists. Previous lines — plastic, paper, botanica and metallics — have all brought artists to TAB who not only surprised us, but themselves as well. Creating wearable art is a journey that may produce a final product far beyond the artist’s original idea.”

Not a creative type or uncomfortable strutting the catwalk? No problem, said Galbo.

“Volunteer applications are now open,” she said. “We are looking for volunteers for before, during and after the shows. All volunteers get to see the show for free at Wednesday’s dress rehearsal performance.”

Galbo added that tickets remain on sale for TAB 2020, the 27th annual event, and urged people to get involved, regardless of whether it is as a model, designer, volunteer, audience member or donor. She stressed that funds raised by the event support AIDS service organizations in Colorado and Africa, as well as local efforts aimed at expanding education and awareness.

“TAB’s theme this year is the need to ‘keep talking’ about HIV and AIDS,” Galbo said. “HIV infection numbers have recently gone up in Colorado, and HIV is headed to rural America, according to the New York Times, due to the opioid crisis. There is no currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. We need to keep fighting, funding and educating.”

For more information about TAB, model auditions, submitting an application for Wearable Art and to purchase tickets, visit