It is no surprise the nonprofit organization, Scare for a Cure, is a huge supporter of BCRC. Since 2009, the legendary Haunt has raised an incredible $190,000 for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. You may even recognize SCARE’s founder, Jarrett Crippen, as the charmingly entertaining Emcee on the Art Bra stage year after year.
But what folks may not know is just how integral the many people behind Scare for A Cure are to the success of BCRC’s signature fundraising event. Since the days when Art Bra Austin was known as “Graphic”, many of SCARE’s costume designers, makeup artists, set builders, and technicians lend their skills to help create a bigger and better Art Bra Austin every year. In this post, we celebrate three of those outstanding volunteers – Crystal McGookey, Brooke Garrett, and Jenny Romano – all Art Bra Artists for this year’s show.
Crystal McGookey is our first SCARE-extraordinaire and Art Bra Artist to mention here. She is a bookkeeper by day and a costume designer by night. She first got into designing costumes for haunts at age 15 when she had to complete 150 hours of community service. She loved the work so much, she’s never stopped. Crystal found out about Scare for a Cure when she was pursuing a BA in Fashion Merchandising at Texas State. She fell in love with the cause and credits many, if not all, of her Austin friendships to her involvement with the organization. Crystal is currently SCARE’s Costume Designer, Pattern Maker, and Stitcher.
Throughout her time with SCARE, Crystal has become a strong supporter and valued volunteer for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. She started designing art bras for Art Bra Austin in 2011 and in 2014 she became a member of Art Bra Austin’s Costume Committee. We couldn’t be more lucky to have her!
Crystal’s first of two art bras is titled “Haleluya” and made from Silk Georgette fabric, Swarovski rhinestones, and acid dyes. Crystal sewed the delicate art bra using french seams, hand painted the dye, and then set each rhine stone by hand. The bra was purchased and hand-painted by Donald Mccaskill of Curvy Canvas.
The inspiration behind “Haleluya” comes from a line in one of Crystal’s favorite songs, Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen. She explains,
“One of the most poignant lines, “This love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah”. That to me is what true love is the ability to stand next to someone though the worst of times and to still be glad that they are by your side. Love is not some story book tale where everything is easy. These women were not brought together by nice clean circumstance. They came together over grief and fear. And they stand together and support each other no matter how terrible or hard it gets. They are there for the most horrible time in your life. And these are the friends who will feel your triumphs more deeply, And celibate the hardest even when it seems to be something so small as getting your port out. These are the friends who will hold your hand and witness your last moments. Knowing it will hurt but they stay because their love was won knowing it may not be forever. That is what that song means to me and I see it every day at the bcrc. Love so true and bonds so strong no horror could ever break it and that is a Hallelujah. That is faith.”
The second art bra from Crystal McGookey is titled ‘Flidais”, or “The Huntress,” named after the Celtic Earth Goddess. “The Huntress” is constructed from leather, wild turkey feathers, and metal. Crystal first read about the goddess, Flidais, in a book; she loved how Flidais is the guardian of wild beasts and is good with a bow. Flidais is strong and loving all at the same time. Crystal also loves how beautiful wild turkeys are so she decided to make her own interpretation of what the goddess Flidais might have worn for an art bra. The result is wildly stunning.
Next on our list is Excel-wizard and Organizer-of-the-year, Brooke Garrett. Brooke is originally from the Northwest. She moved to Austin ten years ago, and for the past seven years, she has been very involved volunteering in the breast cancer community with Scare for a Cure. Brooke is currently the Volunteer Director for SCARE, which is no small feat as the organization employs the talent and hard work of over 300 volunteers each year. So it was a no-brainer when in 2016, BCRC asked Brooke if she’d sign on to be Art Bra Austin’s Volunteer Committee Chair. Fortunately for BCRC, she said yes!
This year, Brooke felt inspired to take her participation a step further. She has impressed us all with her first art bra submission, “In Renewal,” which comes complete with beautiful branches stemming out from the back like wings. “In Renewal” was created in the likeness of the Cherry Blossom Tree; the trees represent rebirth and is a beautiful reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful, no matter what comes our way. The art bra is adorned with 830 vellum cherry blossom flowers of various sizes – each flower was hand-cut and hand-dyed pink by Brooke. “In Renewal” is a labor of love and a beautiful piece of art – we are certain it will make its wearer feel beautiful inside and out.
Last but not least of our three incredible SCARE volunteers is Jenny Romano. Jenny first participated in Art Bra Austin 2016 as an artist for her good friend, BCRC client, and Art Bra Model, Nikki DeLeon. Jenny designed a beautiful “Dias de los Muertos”-themed corset for Nikki and the piece was auctioned off LIVE during the Runway Show. After a thrilling year participating, Jenny met several other SCARE volunteers and got hooked on both Art Bra Austin and Scare for a Cure. She started doing makeup for SCARE’s ‘Final Judgement’ haunt this past October, and is now helping as the Assistant Costume Manager. She’s also found time to help with everything and anything related to Art Bra Austin, and submitted another over-the-top work of art to be modeled in this year’s show.
Jenny Romano’s “A Salute to Arms” is inspired by the women in service and the women whose husbands also serve in our military. She describes the parallel between these brave women, and the women served by BCRC, “They fought for our freedom, like these women fight/fought for their lives to make it through breast cancer.” “A Salute to Arms” is made up of fabrics and patches sourced from real military service members. It is a beautiful tribute to the courage summoned by so many women who fight both for our freedom, and for their own life at home.
Art Bra® Austin will take place on June 3, at the Austin Convention Center, 500 E Cesar Chavez St., Austin, Texas. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for cocktails, food service and silent auction, followed by the runway show and live auction at 8:00 p.m. General Admission tickets are currently on sale for $200 and reserved-seating floor and runway tickets are available for $250. Tickets are available at http://artbraaustin.org/get-tickets.
ABOUT ART BRA AUSTIN
Art Bra® Austin, now in its sixth year, is BCRC’s signature fundraiser. Every year, Austin’s talented community of artists, designers, and jewelers submit their original works of wearable art to be showcased by a dynamic group of Art Bra Austin models, creating an enchanting evening where everyone involved from the artists to the models and stylists donates their time and services. Approximately 60 to 70 pieces are selected from over 100 submissions to be offered for auction the night of the event. Top submissions are auctioned live during the runway show with winning bids as high as $8,500. For more information about this event and how to get involved, please visit www.artbraaustin.org.
ABOUT BREAST CANCER RESOURCE CENTER
Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) is a nonprofit organization providing guidance, education, and assistance to thousands of local women whose lives have been disrupted by breast cancer. Staffed by breast cancer survivors, BCRC helps each woman find her footing and determine the solutions that are right for her.
BCRC was founded in 1995 as a volunteer-staffed helpline and a single support group. Today, in addition to being survivors, BCRC staff are trained support professionals and experts in where to go, what to do next, and how to keep a woman moving forward through diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. They serve more than 2,200 women annually, offering personalized guidance, robust educational opportunities, and several financial and personal assistance programs. All of it – free of charge – to the client. For more detailed information about BCRC services and programs, please visit www.bcrc.org.