The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

September 30, 2013

Coffee & Canvas to host Painted Bra Project fundraiser

By Lora Scripps

— An item typically found in the top drawer of a woman’s dresser might sound like an unlikely canvas to most artists.

Sanda Bishop would beg to differ. She knows art comes in all forms.

The owner of Coffee & Canvas in Rogersville believes painting a woman’s brassiere for charity is the perfect way to uplift the thousands of women fighting breast cancer across the nation as well as the more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors.

Bishop’s shop, located at 16426 U.S. 72 in Rogersville, is a place that opens all the human senses — bright painted canvases with whimsical and creative characters cover the walls and the aroma of fresh coffee fills the air.

“You want me to show you two bras I painted?” Bishop asked.

As she carefully removed each one from the plastic that surrounded them, she explained her vision. “This is an eagle,” she said. “It reminds me of Isaiah 40:31.”

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

The painted bra is in homage to her first husband Craig Robitzsch. “My first husband passed of cancer,” she said. “It was hard, but we made lemonade out of lemons. That was his favorite verse. I knew I wanted to do something inspiring with the eagle, but also fun like the eyes. Yet, something that was meaningful.”

Bishop also painted a second bra. She calls it Amazing Grace. The bra features a whimsical girl playing a cello with the musical notes to “Amazing Grace.”

The bras were created to give other women ideas that could be used at an event hosted by Bishop and her friend Brandi Angus, known as Uplift the Girls, a part of the Painted Bra Project.

Uplift the Girls was an idea Angus wanted to bring to fruition, but she wasn’t sure how to go about it. Then, she heard about the Painted Bra project.

The Painted Bra Project is an art and awareness fundraiser that raises money for breast cancer awareness. Proceeds are donated to the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund. Artist Anna Braden of Huntsville founded the Painted Bra Project in 2011.

Bishop, now remarried to Bruce Bishop of Muscle Shoals, said she wants to help any way possible. “I want to give back,” she said. “The women can paint crazy, funny things. They can paint whatever they want to do.”

Uplift the Girls

“There are some people in Athens who do the Painted Bra Project,” Angus added. “But, there was nothing in Lauderdale County that I had ever seen. I know Rogersville does Paint the Town Pink in October and Girls Night Out, but nobody had done anything like this.”

Angus and her daughter, Allie, 6, regularly paint at Coffee & Canvas and take art classes. She thought the project was something Bishop would be interested in. “I thought I’m just edgy enough to be the first person to paint a bra in Rogersville,” Angus said with a chuckle. “I thought Sanda could help me.”

She brought the idea to Bishop who said, “absolutely we can do this.”

It wasn’t long before Bishop got in touch with Painted Bra Project organizers in Huntsville.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Coffee & Canvas in Rogersville. The cost is $40 and registration is still underway with 20 remaining spots available.

“I believe Anna Braden from the Painted Bra Project is coming,” Bishop said. “We will have hors d’oeuvres and the coffee bar will be open.”

Bishop said the bras have been prepped for painting, paints will be set up and music will be playing. “All you have to do is come in and paint,” she said.

Judges will be on hand to pick 10 “best bras.” The best bras will go to the Roundhouse Museum in Huntsville for a BRAsterpiece art exhibit and will be auctioned off. All the bras will be used for the project and can be painted in memory or in honor of loved ones.

Proceeds raised beyond a minimal cost for supplies will be donated to Painted Bra Project, according to Bishop.

The mention of painting bras has received a few comical responses, but Bishop said everyone has been very positive and supportive (no pun intended).

“Obviously, you don’t have to look very far to find someone who has been affected by breast cancer,” Angus said. “This is a fun way to turn something we are all touched by into raising money for awareness. I’m excited to be a part of the event.”

Bishop and Angus plan to make Uplift the Girls an annual event. Donations, including new bras, can be made to Coffee & Canvas in care of the Painted Bra Project.

To find out more, contact Sanda Bishop at 256-777-5066 or email