This painting by Neil Downs was one of last year’s works depicting a bra or bust that was up for auction at the Bust of Steamboat, a benefit for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project.

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This painting by Neil Downs was one of last year’s works depicting a bra or bust that was up for auction at the Bust of Steamboat, a benefit for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project.

Bust of Steamboat looking for artists, sponsors for annual event

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To be a sponsor or create a work of art for the ninth annual Bust of Steamboat fundraiser, call Debbie Curd at 970-846-5696. For more information and pictures of past busts, visit www.thebustofsteamboat.org.

— Megan Morgan grew up a tomboy.

It wasn’t until she had two daughters that she began to develop an appreciation for what it means to be a woman.

“Now, I’m a role model for them,” the graphic designer from Stagecoach said. “Having two girls has really opened that feminine side up.”

Being a woman also means a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Accordingly, Morgan has taken an active role in local breast cancer efforts.

Every year she translates the beauty of the female form and breast cancer awareness into works of art for the Bust of Steamboat fundraiser for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project.

This year’s ninth annual fundraiser is from 5 to 8 p.m. October 29 at Three Peaks Grill, but several artists like Morgan have already begun creating unique bust-inspired works of art to be auctioned off at the event.

From decorative and shimmering bras to elaborate paintings and sculptures, no medium is off limits.

Last year, Morgan decorated two pink corsets for the auction. This year, she plans to go a more classical route with a painting inspired by the female physique.

“It’s so beautiful,” she said about designing the fun, feminine pieces. “It’s fully enjoying being a women, and that’s open to anyone’s interpretation.”

Debbie Curd, founder of the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project, said this year’s event has gotten off to a slow start in terms of artist participation and sponsorships.

Unfortunately, breast cancer hasn’t slowed down one bit.

“It’s been a rough year for businesses, but it’s a still a rough year for women,” Curd said. “There are people who have lost their jobs and don’t have insurance anymore.”

The Breast Cancer Awareness Project provides funds to help women with the unanticipated costs of a breast cancer diagnosis.

The all-volunteer committee raises money and distributes the funds among Routt and Moffat county women and their families for expenses such as gas, lodging and child care during chemotherapy treatments.

“We cover everything that insurance doesn’t cover,” she said.

The program also places a high value on prevention by helping women pay for mammograms and women’s health exams, as well as contributing to imaging equipment at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

In its 10 years, the program has handed out an annual average of about $25,000, and as much as $45,000 in one year.

“We’re really unique in that 100 percent stays in Routt and Moffat (counties)” she said. “It doesn’t go to research. Research is important, but this is for the community. We’re 100 percent volunteer, so we always need more hands.”

The Bust of Steamboat fundraiser was developed a year after the program started and originally was a bra decorating project. Since its inception, pieces have ranged from fine art to jewelry.

“It was really just a very whimsical approach to something serious,” she said. “And now, it’s evolved into some amazing pieces of artwork. But the whole point is to raise money for local women.”

There are many, like Morgan, who have not personally struggled against breast cancer but have seen their friends and neighbors suffer the hardships of fighting the disease and maintaining a good quality of life.

For her, it’s the perfect way to donate her artistic passion and skill to worthy recipients.

“It can pop up at any time with any friend or family member or myself,” Morgan said. “And now I have two daughters. It’s a great cause to donate time to all of our loved ones in Routt County.”

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