They call it the "Save the Ta-Tas" Project and it has become a favorite of art students and the school at large at DAR High School in Grant.
Each fall for October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, students in teacher Zan Edmonds' art class decorate bras. For girls and women alike, the project is a reminder to take care of yourself and to take breast health seriously.
This is the 8th year of the project and the bra artwork just keeps getting better and better every year.
It's a project for high school art students.
"My middle school students can't wait to get to high school so they can do this project," Edmonds said. "It has become one that students look forward to every year."
She and former Consumer & Family Science teacher Beth Cagle came up with the project in 2012. It was a good fit for Cagle's classes too because she taught a fashion class at the time.
The ladies had to do a little bit of selling to then-principal Stacy Anderton.
"He listened to us and he gave his approval, although he said we had to stress for it to be tasteful," Edmonds said. "That's something I still talk to the students about every year before the project, about keeping it tasteful."
The bras are pretty much identical, ordered off Amazon. They are either a B or C cup with underwire. The underwire is needed to help the finished works of art keep their shape.
"If you really stop and think about it, the bras are just a blank canvas when the students begin working on them," Edmonds said.
Students have two weeks of class time to work on their bras. They can work on their own individually or in groups. Boys as well as girls participate.
She warns the students if they are going to do a lot of painting of a bra, expect to apply multiple coats of paint. The bra will just soak it up.
Some students plan far in advance and come in with their bra art project already sketched out. Going back to the theme of keeping it tasteful, Edmonds must sign off on every bra's theme before the students proceed.
Occasionally outside materials are brought in, but for the most part, all the items used to make the bras are found right there in the art room.
Students from the Learning Center even participate in the project. Two bras were created by Learning Center students this year.
"Every year, I think the bras can't get any better and every year, it seems like they do," Edmonds said.
The students embrace a variety of themes, as you can see from the accompanying photos. There were two Trump bras this year, a couple butterfly bras, a police bra, nature themes (bees, flowers, beaches, etc), a jellyfish bra with beads for tentacles, cartoon character bras, a dream catcher bra and more.
"Some of the students have relatives who have been touched by cancer, so it is especially meaningful to them," Edmonds said.
The Grant Thrift Store provided the funds this year to get 1st, 2nd and 3rd place gift cards for the top bras, so it's an art competition too.
There was some concern in the early going about how the DAR ladies would receive the Save the Ta-Tas project. After all, Dedication Day, when DAR ladies from all over the United States converge on the school to dedicate gifts, is held every October too.
It turns out the ladies loved the project and there's even been a part of the competition in the past when the DAR ladies picked their favorite bra.
Dedication Day will be virtual this year because of the coronavirus, so that might not be a part of the project this year.
Also in the early going, 10 of the bras were auctioned off through a medical clinic in Huntsville to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
That partnership only lasted a year, but Edmonds would love to find another organization who could use the students' creativity to help women through an art auction.
The Save the Ta-Tas project will continue, at least for the immediate future. Edmonds is getting close to having enough time to retire, but she's planning to be around at least a few more years.