On Oct. 18 at the Levine Jewish Community Center (Levine JCC) in Shalom Park, approximately 100 local women, including breast cancer survivors, loved ones and community members, had their Ta Tas painted and then photographed as inspiring works of art during the first part of a two-part education and awareness fundraiser called “Celebrate the Ta Tas,” said Alexis Fish, Hadassah Charlotte member.
On Nov. 3, the second part of “Celebrate the Ta Tas” will occur at Butter NC.
“(It will include) a gallery exhibition and auctions of the artwork reflecting the generous spirit of women in the Charlotte community,” said Fish, 31. All proceeds will be donated to the Hadassah Hospital groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research center.
“Hadassah is responsible for countless medical breakthroughs for cancer and other diseases,” said Hadas Kasher, president, Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah. “In 2005, Hadassah was nominated for a Nobel Prize.”
“Hadassah is a women’s volunteer organization,” said Kasher, 45. “Part of Hadassah’s mission statement is to enhance the health of people worldwide through its support of medical care and research at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem.”
“This program fits right with the heart of our mission statement,” said Kasher.
South Charlotte resident Talia Goldman, 52, was instrumental at creating this event. “My mother is a four-time cancer survivor,” said Goldman. “My best friend as well, along with many other women I adore. I have a daughter and my own set of ta tas …need I say more regarding (the event’s) meaning?”
Goldman learned about a variation of this program from a friend from Knoxville, and thought that Hadassah would be a great organization to approach about her idea.
Goldman and the Charlotte Chapter of Hadassah developed the two-part “Celebrate the Ta Tas” with the support of Charlotte Radiology, Mecklenburg Radiology, the Presbyterian Mobile Mammogram Bus, Carmel Obstetrics and Gynecology, gracious vendors, sponsors and donors.
This program “empowered women, giving them a chance to turn their ta tas into a beautiful canvas in memory of a loved one, in honor of a survivor, or simply because it was a fun way to raise funds for a great cause,” said Goldman.
Women were asked to bring in ideas or photographs for artistic inspiration.
Rosalia Torres Weiner, a muralist artist who is originally from Mexico, used acrylics to paint on the women’s breasts. She painted such things as: vacation spots, Lake Tahoe, tropical places, re-creations of masterpieces and a “Boobgle Map” of the painting location (Levine JCC).
Although Weiner, 50, is not a Hadassah member, she agreed to volunteer her artistry because the women and the collaborative process inspired her.
“The women are my inspiration who want to participate in this event and are not afraid to show their breasts and do something for a good cause,” said Weiner. “We are empowering each other…this event is truly for everyone in the community.”
Photographer Stephanie Tomey is a three-year breast cancer survivor who was happy to volunteer her photographic skills for this event.
“I really want women to know just how important breast self-exams and annual mammograms are,” said Tomey. “I was diagnosed after what I thought was a routine annual mammogram.”
Tomey was careful to make sure that the women felt comfortable while she was photographing them. It’s the number one consideration because “they really put themselves out there by participating in this event,” said Tomey. “I admire their courage and boldness.”
The body paintings and photographs are “tasteful works of art, and the identity of the participants is being respected,” said Fish.
All participants, including the organizers, artists, and photographers, are volunteers.
Everyone involved is not necessarily a Hadassah member but all are working toward common goals: raising funds for breast cancer research; raising awareness and education; and providing an opportunity to empower women and the men who support them.
“All proceeds from everything sold during the event (door tickets, door prizes and photographs) are going to breast cancer research,” said Fish.
“My hope is through the generosity of caring people, all women can be diagnosed early and through research conducted through organizations like Hadassah, breast cancer can be eradicated,” said Tomey.