Beauty through an artist’s eyes |

Beauty through an artist’s eyes

Local artist Jan Maret Wilman created this piece of art for this year's Bust of Steamboat.
John F. Russell

Local artist Jennifer Baker created this piece of art for this year's Bust of Steamboat.John F. Russell

— Through an artist's eyes, images present moments of adversity, triumph and unforeseen beauty.

At this year's Bust of Steamboat event, 22 local artists have created their own interpretations or connections to breast cancer. Artists had the freedom to create anything they wanted for the donated piece as long as it incorporated a bust or breasts in some way.

In its 13th year, the annual fundraiser for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at Three Peaks Grill. Tickets are $35 and available at All That Jazz and Three Peaks Grill in advance or at the door. The ticket price includes the first beverage and heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Jan Maret Willman's "Into Wholeness" embodies the contradictions of life. A very personal piece for the artist, the abstract cubist inspired picture depicts a body broken on the inside and fractured into pieces, similar to a puzzle.

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"I think when you go through anything significant with injury or illness that's how you feel inside," she said. "But it's the soul of the person that holds it all together in one piece. It represents those pieces being put back together to create healing that results in a beautiful picture."

It's been about five years since Maret Willman had a piece in the Bust of Steamboat but her ties to the event go back to her experience as a hospice volunteer and involvement in the medical profession.

"I've learned that you have to embrace life in whatever form you have left and to live life to its fullest," she said. "You have to make that time the most beautiful time, and for me, supporting breast cancer awareness fits into that philosophy. It was very natural for me to get involved."

Some of the artists may or may not have a connection to someone affected by breast cancer, but it's the community coming together to bring awareness to the disease that inspired them to create a piece for the event.

"Whenever I go to the Bust of Steamboat it seems to me like a lot of people that were affected in some way find connections to others and bond together," said Kathy Thayer, one of the artists who collaborated with friend Jody Elston to create Thayer’s "Reveal" sculpture and Elston’s “Mountains of Wellness Pitcher.”

She and Elston began working on their own pieces then, they would swap and work on each other's.

"We got together to work on this because it seems like that is what the event is all about, coming together to stand up and support people who have been affected by the disease in some way," Thayer said.

Deb Curd, who started the event after going through the loss of a friend who fought the disease and encountered many challenges, said each year is a new beginning. For its 13th year, the Bust of Steamboat features a 1940s "Lady Luck" theme, and attendees are encouraged to dress for the occasion.

"It's one of those diseases that really does impact everyone," said Jennifer Baker, the artist who created the glass piece, "Areola Borealis.” "I think it's very much a community-oriented event, and it helps to know the money stays local because it's a tight community here and lots of people know someone going through treatment. It makes me feel honored to be a part of this."

Each piece of art work will be auctioned off to the highest bidder at the live auction and reception.

All the money raised will go to uninsured and underinsured women in Routt and Moffat counties to help them pay for mammograms and annual wellness exams and assist in breast cancer treatment costs.

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