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Art Bras Benefit Breast Cancer Patients

‘Creative Cups’ art bras on exhibit March 4 to 11;

auction on March 14

Two Port Washington residents – Patricia Szanto and Karen Vetrone – are among the 131 people who turned ordinary bras into works of art to support breast cancer patients and survivors. Now in its third year, art bras made for “Creative Cups” are auctioned off to raise funds for the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Program.

Every year in Nassau County, more than 200 women die from breast cancer. According to the New York Cancer Registry, an average of 1,265 cases of breast cancer are reported annually within Nassau County. The Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Program offers support and information to women diagnosed or concerned with breast cancer; educating, empowering and advocating for patients and the community.

The “Creative Cups” auction takes place on Thursday, March 14, at 6 p.m., at Adelphi University in Garden City. Tickets for the auction can be purchased online at www.adelphi.edu/creative-cups. Also, a special exhibition titled “Highlights: Selected Works from Creative Cups 2013,” featuring 15 submissions at the Ruth S. Harley University Center Gallery, will be on display from March 4 through March 11.

Patricia Szanto told Port News that it was her first time submitting an art bra for Creative Cups, which she made an honor of her close friend, Doreen, who died of breast cancer. The art bra, titled “Sea Cup,” is a play on words, Szanto said, noting one of the submission requirements stated that artists had to use a C-cup bra, and she decorated the bra in a sea theme, since her friend loved the water and found peace and comfort on her boat.

It was Karen Vetrone’s second time submitting an art bra for Creative Cups. “I am a quilter, and I have a friend who has a connection with Adelphi who told me about the contest. I was intrigued by the idea,” Vetrone said, in describing how she learned of this project. Titled “Chrysalis,” Vetrone made her art bra in honor of her friend, Diane Gaines, who is a 20-year breast cancer survivor. Gaines runs an organization called WORC, which is an alternative to an incarceration program that helps troubled women transform their lives, hence the idea of the butterfly.

The artist’s statements are provided below.

Patricia Szanto – “Sea Cup”

“My inspiration for this art bra comes from a very special friendship I was blessed to have had. Her name was Doreen, and at the age of 32 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Not long after her diagnosis, Doreen bought a boat. Doreen always loved the water and this boat gave her happiness and tranquility at a time when her life was filled with foreboding and uncertainty. I will always remember her at these times, when she would set aside the fear and revel in the smell and feeling of the water, allowing herself to forget a large part of her life and instead focusing on the small, but very powerful moment.  

“Tragically, Doreen died on April 30, 1998, her 38th birthday. Although I will always grieve the loss, I am grateful for the time we had together and the things she taught me. It is my love for her and her love for the water that has motivated me to create this art bra.”

Karen Vetrone – “Chrysalis”

“Diane Gaines is a 20-year breast cancer survivor and my hero. She is the inspiration for Chrysalis. For over 26 years, Diane has been helping women leave incarceration and become new women, in other words, beautiful butterflies. Her organization is called WORC, the Woman’s Opportunity Rehabilitation Center, an alternative to incarceration program. WORC’s mission is to help women who are in jail obtain a release and then refocus their lives so that they can rejoin their families and gain the skills they need to be successful. Diane has helped over 1,000 women accomplish this daunting challenge. She teaches, encourages, cajoles, scolds and congratulates them day after day for six months. When they have completed the course, they are free to rejoin society as new women. They each consider her their angel! (And she does all this from a wheelchair that she has been in for the last 30 years.)

“The left side of the bra symbolizes the hell that is life in jail behind bars, often separated from their children who may end up in a hell of their own. The center symbolizes WORC, the chrysalis, and the cocoon where the women can learn and grow into the beautiful women they are meant to be. Diane’s picture swings from the Chrysalis because she is the catalyst who fuels the transformation. The right side symbolizes the beautiful butterflies they become, free to fly to new heights.

“Thank you God for Diane Gaines. Keep her safe and healthy!”