Artful Bra contest supports breast cancer survivors, lifts spirits

More than 100 bras were submitted for event.
Columbia resident Carol Stoddart attends the Artful Bra Contest on Oct. 5 at Tiger Hotel. Artwork was auctioned off and all proceeds will be donated to breast cancer patient care and screening at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

Breast cancer survivors and sympathizers gathered to support the cause Wednesday for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center’s annual Artful Bra contest. The reception was held at the Tiger Hotel and showcased more than 100 decorated bras, which were auctioned off to raise money for breast cancer treatment and prevention programs.

The second floor lobby was filled with a collection of bras, many artfully done up with items like candy bars and even Truman the Tiger’s paws on a set of bra cups titled “Support Services.” Top designs won gift baskets, but all attendees contributed to the cause by paying admission.

MU Health Care spokesman Matt Splett said the fun atmosphere allowed people to enjoy themselves while helping people who have breast cancer.

“This event is supporting a great cause because it is bringing attention to breast cancer awareness and allowing others to be creative at the same time,” he said. “This event is popular is because it is for a cause, more specifically for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and helping others.”

As spectators walked around a reception room in the Tiger Hotel, mushroom caps, blue cheese with crackers and various drinks were served.

Event judge Anne Deaton said though she had to be neutral as a judge, she was inspired by the beautiful designs that held such a strong meaning for a variety of people.

“You can see that the contestant spent time with each bra with the level of effort shown through the designs, which made them a joy to judge,” she said.

Bra designers used plays on words for the titles of their art, such as “The Giddy Up Cup,” which included two stuffed animals on each cup and the Halloween themed “Peek a Boob” bra.

Deaton said all designs were well done, but she had specific criteria for choosing a standout design.

“I looked for neatness, execution of idea and a link to the theme of breast cancer awareness, although the creativity was off the charts for this event,” she said. “This event was amazing because of the inspiration on display.”

Participant Pat Olsen said as a result of past experiences, she felt empowered enough to send her own inspirational message with her bra “Riding with Breast Cancer."

“Along with me getting to be the art teacher I never got to be, when I rode my bike it helped me get through a lot of issues, which led to the inspiration for my bra,” she said.

Olsen said making art is a powerful way to spread awareness.

“This, like every event that involves breast cancer, is like the World Cup of breast cancer awareness because it shows that it is everywhere and it takes creativity to send a message,” she said.

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