Utah artists get inspired by breast-cancer fight

Published September 27, 2013 6:09 pm
"Creating for a Cause" raises money for mammograms for underinsured women.
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As she glued leopard-spotted sequins and purple hearts to a white bra, Shari Zinik followed a precise artistic vision.

"I'm just thinking, 'Madonna, Madonna,' " said Zinik, 57, a breast-cancer survivor who took part in "Creating for a Cause," an event raising money and awareness Friday morning at the Intermountain Medical Center's Breast Care Center in Murray.

A couple of hundred women, and some men, participated in the event, where people decorated bras while enjoying fruit and cheese. They also witnessed the unveiling of new paintings by 13 prominent Utah artists, each inspired by the fight against breast cancer.

"These are women who have painted for the cause," said Brent Parkinson, medical director of the Breast Care Center.

Painter Leia Bell said she was inspired by a friend's death from breast cancer this summer, so when she was contacted about taking part in the art event, "I said, 'I don't care how soon it is, I'll do it.' "

Her work, "There Is a Light That Will Never Go Out," takes its title from a song by The Smiths and features a woman seated before birthday candles.

"I just wanted to show a celebration of life," Bell said.

Artist Heather Barron featured a monarch butterfly in her painting to symbolize a woman's fight against breast cancer. The butterfly, she said, "is such a small, delicate creature, but it has a hidden strength."

Many of the paintings, some going for thousands of dollars, were sold at Friday's event. About 40 percent of the proceeds, Parkinson said, will go to fund mammograms for underinsured women. Parkinson pointed out that Utah has the second-lowest rate for breast-cancer screening in the country.

The drive for breast-cancer screening motivated Zinik to attend the event. Zinik, a retired manager at the University of Utah chemistry department, was diagnosed a year ago — and has undergone a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and reconstruction surgery.

"If you catch it early, your chances of survival are better," Zinik said.




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