By Annamarya Scaccia
Opening reception Fri., Feb. 1, 7-10 p.m., free, Tower Gallery, 969 N. Second St.; exhibit runs through mid-February, Art Institute of Philadelphia, 16th and Chestnut streets, 215-413-0375, corsetsforacure.com
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When Amy McConnell, co-owner of Delicious Boutique and Corseterie, learned that her close friend had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer, she set out to raise money and cancer awareness. Namely, she gave 18 artists plain white corsets to decorate however they chose.
The resulting exhibit, “Corsets for a Cure,” doubles as a fundraiser for the Linda Creed Breast Cancer Foundation, a Philly-based nonprofit group specializing in breast cancer education, early detection and support. Throughout February, the hand-painted corsets will be auctioned off online (corsetsforacure.com) to benefit the foundation. Eight of them will also be displayed in the window of the Art Institute of Philadelphia until mid-February.
Corset designs range from the quaint to the creepy. Michele Melcher’s creation looks like a Philly street map, complete with sea creatures and ships sailing the Delaware. Graham Groff and Eric Negron’s collaborative effort includes three-dimensional faces and scenes from The Exorcist. In Paul Palcko’s Support piece, a painted angel seems to embrace the corset, as if to protect the wearer.
Given the overwhelming response by both local and national artists eager to contribute, McConnell happily anticipates that “Corsets for a Cure” will become a yearly fundraiser. “Any kind of cancer is a financial burden,” she says. “The foundation provides direct help to individuals. It’s an invaluable thing they’re doing.”