Erin Petersen
Uplifting Art

Bras for a Cause

By - Jan 11th, 2010 06:24 am
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"Right Decisions" by Dan Olschlaeger

“Right Decisions” by Dan Olschlaeger

On Friday, A Woman’s Touch, Milwaukee’s premier  sexuality resource center, is teaming up with After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) for a tongue-in-cheek fundraiser and community-powered  art and craft event that pays homage to woman’s … um, oldest supporter. Uplifting Art: Bras for a Cause invites local  individuals, businesses, craft mavens and mavericks to donate their own embellished and re-constructed bras to help benefit ABCD’s mission for Milwaukee women and families that are living through breast cancer.

ABCD was founded in 1999 by a group of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer; the idea was to provide the kind of support and compassion you just can’t get from the medical community. ABCD’s primary function is to mentor women and their families during treatment and beyond, pairing patients with trained volunteers that share a similar demographic background and diagnosis.

“Part of the reason we chose to do this show with ABCD is that it really fits with us,” says Amy Moore, outreach coordinator for A Woman’s Touch (AWT). “It’s local, and we really love the idea of a place that does mentoring because it’s such a powerful way to reach people … it offers a certain trust level.”

Moore says that Uplifting Art was inspired by Danceworks’ The Bra Project. For the show, Danceworks collected nearly 600 bras from the community for a daring 11-part show that incorporated movement, music and poetry in honor (and also in spite) of this symbol of femininity and control. Some of the donated bras were re-purposed to create a quilt, which was later auctioned off to benefit breast cancer resources like ABCD. Moore got involved with The Bra Project when AWT served as a drop-off point for bra donations — that’s when the wheel’s started turning.

After witnessing the success with Danceworks’ project, Moore wanted to create a similar event that also served to highlight local organizations and businesses. She says that ABCD was a clear choice for partnership not only because she wanted to keep things local, but also because of the number of post-cancer patients she’s been able to help through her position at AWT.

"Jingle all the Way" - artist unknown

“Jingle all the Way” – artist unknown

“Healthy sexuality is pleasurable sexuality,” she says. “[AWT] works a lot with women post-cancer  to help address issues due to medications and other treatment.”

Since partnering with ABCD as well as media sponsor B93.3 , she says there has been an overwhelming response with dozens of calls, e-mails and, of course, bras pouring in.

I got to sneak a peek at some of the early submissions. The entries ranged from bedazzling and uber- feminine foundation garments to over-the-top showpieces (one is made entirely of jingle bells) to the completely de-and re-constructed form. It’s all over the map, and each piece is a unique interpretation on the medium.

At the official opening, every bra will be up for bid during a silent auction. All proceeds will go to benefit ABCD’s mentoring programs. Next month, AWT will host an artists’ reception where bidders will be able to meet and mingle with their bra’s creator.

Bra submission from Club Charlies

Bra submission from Club Charlies

In the past decade, breast cancer affected more women than ever before; it seems that everyone has been touched by it in one way or another. The numbers in Milwaukee are staggering. According to the Susan G. Komen foundation, 659 women are diagnosed every year. Support for organizations like ABCD can make a significant impact on those numbers by providing invaluable educational resources and outreach programs that give women and families the tools they need to cope with this aggressive epidemic.

In the end, AWT’s Moore says that this event is meant to spread awareness and promote health, but also to let women in the area know that the help they need is available — and it’s closer than you think.

Uplifting Art: Bras for a Cause
opens on Friday, Jan. 15, 5-9 p.m., at A Woman’s Touch, 200 N. Jefferson St. Be sure to visit the AWT website for more info about the artists’ reception, Feb. 2.

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