Casting for breast cancer

Alyssa Fairbanks

Credit: Varonin
Credit: Varonin

The brightly colored plaster breast moulds hanging around campus hint at a unique event put on by the Fine Arts House (FAH): their annual breast casting day. Anyone interested had the opportunity to make a plaster cast of their chest on Saturday, April 25, from 1-4 p.m. at the FAH. Later this week, the FAH will host an Artists’ Colony to paint the casts.

The FAH’s artistic event is also a fund-raiser for breast cancer. The cost to make a cast is $3, of which some covers the material and the rest is donated to a breast cancer research organization.  

“Last year the FAH made almost $200 to donate: a lot of people came,” said sophomore Arianna Cortesi, who lives at the FAH and is helping put on this year’s event. She also said that this year’s sign-up sheet was looking pretty full, so they expect a good turnout.  

“This event has been a Fine Arts House tradition for a very long time,” said sophomore Liz Hockett another resident of the FAH. “It was such a great feeling to look out at the sign-up sheet and find it full after only a couple days of being up! We had to add more time slots to accommodate all of the people who wanted to participate.”

The basic process of making a plaster cast of your breasts, or chest in the case of the men participating, was explained by Cortesi:

“You show up to the FAH. Boys go around to the back door, because they do their chest casting in the kitchen; girls come to the front door, and they cast their breasts in our living room. There are bowls of warm water and piles of plaster strips on each of the tables; basically, you get them wet and make a plaster cast of your breasts/chest. It usually takes about 20 minutes.”  

For Cortesi, this is an important event. Not only does it raise money for cancer research, it also has personal significance.  

“For me, at least, I participate because breasts are such a sexual symbol in our culture. I think it’s a way to really make them your own again, to own your own sexuality,” she said. “Plus, you get to paint them and that’s fun.”

Hockett came hesitantly last year with her roommate.  

“I was very, very hesitant to be naked around anyone else. When we got here though, the atmosphere was so chill and everyone was really nice, I didn’t feel awkward at all. I felt like it helped me and my roommate bond in a new way,” she said.

For the men participating, the process has a different significance. Cortesi mentioned that few males participate, but that the FAH is seeking to change that.

“We renamed the event this year to ‘chest casting’ instead of ‘breast casting’ in hopes of reeling in more dudes, but yes, there are a lot of females,” said Hockett.