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April 4, 2007

The Art of Activism: Bra Painting (not Burning) at Smith College


BreastFest, a slate of events to raise awareness about breast cancer, is scheduled April 9-13. The events are free and open to the public.

Take a look at a photo gallery of BreastFest2007.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The student organization Smith Breast Health Collective plans to artfully disseminate the latest information about breast cancer with a week of events including painting bras.

Students, staff, faculty and the public are invited to paint a donated bra Monday through Thursday, April 9-12, from noon to 1 p.m. in the lower level of the Campus Center. The works of art will be exhibited Friday, April 13, on Chapin Lawn.

Anyone wishing to write the name of a person impacted by breast cancer can also do so on a “Banner Honoring Women” that will be available those days at the same time and location.

Triangles by Imogen Cunningham, 1928Triangles by Imogen Cunningham, 1928

In addition, members of the community are invited to view an installation of art works of the female body on display at the Smith College Museum of Art through May 6. The exhibit was assembled by the Smith Breast Health Collective to counter the anxiety surrounding breast cancer, said Rob Dorit, the faculty member whose course about the biology and policy of breast cancer spawned the Smith Breast Health Collective.

“The art reminds us that the human body, with all its limitations, its inevitable wearing down, and its potential to fail us by harboring disease, is also a source of beauty, pleasure and comfort,” said Dorit, associate professor of biological sciences. “The exhibit includes many representations of the female form, from the aloof to the ecstatic, from the naturalistic to the abstract.”

The weeklong art projects will lead to a Thursday evening panel discussion and culminate in a Friday afternoon BreastFest information fair on Chapin Lawn.

The panel Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall, will be made up of local practitioners involved in the treatment of breast cancer The discussion, called “Faces and Choices,” will include Cooley Dickinson Hospital staff Holly Michaelson, a surgeon; Lindsay Rockwell, oncologist; and Becky Jones, chaplain. Also, Katherine Walsh, therapist, author and social worker, and Erin Boles, patient advocate with the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.

On Friday, April 13, from noon to 4 p.m., on Chapin Lawn the weeklong event will culminate in a BreastFest information fair. The fair will include activities designed to spread information about the risk, early detection, treatment, access to treatment and images of breast cancer. An oncologist will be available for private consultations and participants can signup for a breast screening or mammography.

The Smith Breast Health Collective is a student organization dedicated to promoting nuanced, evidence-driven debate and action on the many issues surrounding breast cancer and women’s health. Through its Web site, sponsored events and partnerships, the Smith Breast Health Collective intends to empower women in the community to educate themselves and others about breast cancer.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
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