Art Bra 2015 in Wallingford raises money for breast cancer treatment

Art Bra 2015 in Wallingford raises money for breast cancer treatment


WALLINGFORD — The 7th annual Art Bra show went off without a hitch at the Toyota Oakdale Theatre Thursday night.

Christine Willett, president and founder of After the Storm, Inc. said the event has grown every year. The show features a runway show of handmade “art bras” that are auctioned off to the crowd. After going through several venues, the show has been at the Oakdale for three years. The crowd has grown from just under 200 to about 500 for Thursday night’s show, Willett said. Money raised from the event goes to three hospitals to support breast cancer treatment, MidState Medical Center, Middlesex Hospital and Griffin Hospital. Last year’s event raised $40,000, Willett said.

“The best thing is this money helps your friends in your community battling cancer,” Willett said.

Before the runway show began, the attendees got to enjoy the event’s signature drink, a “pinktini,” and buy raffle tickets. Willett said 36 bras go into the runway show, but she always receives more. The ones not featured on the runway will be raffled off. Of those creations, there was a light-up bra that spelled out “hope” and a gambling-inspired bra. Women and men enjoyed looking at the elaborate bras and choosing which raffle bin to drop their ticket into.

Maggie Peterson, of Durham, made a bra for the runway show based on the Disney movie “Frozen.” Peterson said the movie’s main song, “Let It Go,” was a message she can relate to for those diagnosed with breast cancer. Merrilee Gladkosky, of the North Haven Congregational Church Woman’s Fellowship, created a bra title, “Sock it to Cancer.” Gladkosky, a retired teacher, said she is good at crafts and came up with the idea for the bra while shopping in Wal-Mart and seeing the socks. The bra has a dozen socks on it, with the cups covered in sock puppet faces.

“It’s a labor of love,” Gladkosky said. “What a thrill to support this cause.”

Gladkosky said she was excited and a little scared to see her creation on the runway. The bra sold for $625, one of the highest of the first ten bras auctioned off.

American Idol winner Nick Fradiani signed one of the bras, which was modeled by his sister, Kristen Fradiani. The crowd cheered when the bra sold for $650.

The first 11 bras sold for a total of $5,100.

Karen Annis, of Walling­ford, made a bra for the man portion of the runway show. Right after the intermission, men take over the runway, modeling bras as well. Annis said the theme for the men was “one hit wonder” and she picked the song “Macarena” as the theme for the bra she created. Annis said the show is empowering and creates the opportunity to get the word out.

After the Storm Inc. is a foundation created by Willett, a cancer survivor, to help other survivors “heal physically, emotionally and spiritually from the aftermath of their diagnosis and treatments.” 203-317-2225 Twitter: @LaurenSievertRJ

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