Building breast cancer awareness with plaster casts

Tyra Byrd

Students, faculty and community members volunteered to have plaster casts made of their chests Tuesday at Kent State Stark campus.

“Our goal is to get people to appreciate their bodies,” said Carey McDougall, associate professor of art.

The volunteer chest models were asked to bring a partner with them, and the groups would go into one of three private rooms to cast each other’s busts. Katrina Bloch, assistant professor of sociology, was there to teach them how using gauze strips soaked in plaster.


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The people covered their chests in Vaseline first. Then their partner would dip the strips in water to wet the plaster and smooth it onto their partner’s body. Once the casting dried and was hard, it simply came off when the model leaned forward.

Some people came without partners and could choose a partner when they got there or ask if professor Bloch or McDougall would cast them.

Leann Macri, Kent Stark student, said “it took us about a half-hour each.”

Bloch said on average it took each person anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. She said students could sign up for a specific time or just show up and wait for an open room.

“Last year 30 students came,” Bloch said.

This year, 30 people had already come before 5 p.m., and the casting was open until 7 p.m.

Those participating had the option to take their cast home or leave it to be hung in a gallery in the fine arts building next month. Once the molds are taken out of the gallery, students will be contacted by email and told where they can come pick up their casts.

This is the second year this has been done and the directors of the event are trying to make it an annual event. In addition to creating body awareness there were also breast cancer awareness facts available for students and a video on breast cancer awareness that individuals could watch while they were waiting.

Kent State alumna Lisa Weselek suggested that next year the group should have individuals hold or model their casts to help with being more comfortable with themselves.

Weselek said she had another suggestion, “I think we need to paint them and auction them off and give the proceeds to an organization or charity.”

Contact Tyra Byrd at [email protected].