ArtBra New Haven
West Haven CT 06516-7932
Contact Information
Address 685 FOREST RD
West Haven, CT 06516-7932
Telephone (203) 397-7955 x
Fax 203-397-7955
Web and Social Media
Presenting the proceeds of the 2011 auction to the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
ArtBra New Haven provides a creative emotional outlet to breast cancer survivors and their supporters, and financial assistance to under- and uninsured breast cancer patients in the Greater New Haven area.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2013
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre
Board Chair Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre
Board Chair Company Affiliation
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Mission ArtBra New Haven provides a creative emotional outlet to breast cancer survivors and their supporters, and financial assistance to under- and uninsured breast cancer patients in the Greater New Haven area.
Background ArtBra New Haven was founded in 2011, by Serena Hatch and Gaye Hyre, both breast cancer survivors. Inspired by similar groups around the country, they felt strongly that New Haven needed its own interpretation of the concept. With its unique combination of superb medical facilities and funky art scene, they knew that New Haven could produce something very special.

Gaye spoke with a development officer and a special events coordinator  at Smilow Cancer Hospital. They liked the concept and authorized the auction as a “third-party event” for the benefit of patients at the Breast Center.

Gaye then set about putting the major elements in place. Lisa Cammolli, director of sales at the Omni Hotel, offered complimentary use of the ballroom facilities (including runway, lights, and sound system) and provided catering at a preferred rate.

 Jennifer Ford-Chatfield, herself a survivor and owner of New Haven's Fleur-de-Lys Florals, made a major contribution of stage and table arrangements. Bruce Barber, host of WNPR's “Yale Cancer Center Answers,” embraced the opportunity to serve as emcee and auctioneer.

To introduce a note of rigor to the event, ArtBra chose to honor an outstanding local advocate for the concerns of the breast cancer community. U. S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a survivor of ovarian cancer, accepted the honor in recognition of her “No-Drive-Through” mastectomy/hysterectomy legislation mandating that patients not be sent home immediately post-operative.

Next Gaye worked with renowned fantasy artist Melissa Benson (daughter of a survivor) to design the distinctive ArtBra New Haven “corset” logo.

Over the succeeding several months, a website was created and an artists' call for submissions was distributed to local arts organizations including Kehler-Liddell Gallery, the Neighborhood Music School, and the Creative Arts Workshop.

 Word of mouth did the rest. In 2011, our first year, we received 52 bras and 12 pieces of fine art; attendance was 134; we raised $10,000 for the patients' fund. In 2012 we received 64 bras and 17 fine art pieces. Attendance increased by better than 20%, and we saw a modest increase in funds raised.

Every partnership with local businesses and artists worked out beautifully and has extended into our second and third operating years.

2012 Accomplishments
  1. Produced charity auction, attended by 160+ breast cancer survivors and supporters, which raised $11,000 for the director's discretionary fund at the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Our contribution was used to pay for prescribed treatments for patients at the Breast Center.

  2. Obtained federal recognition as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

  3. Recognized Nancy Cappello PhD, founder and executive director of Are You Dense? with the annual ArtBra honors award. Dr. Cappello successfully lobbied for Connecticut's first-in-the-nation law requiring disclosure and sonography for women with dense breast tissue.

2013 Goals

  1. Increase auction attendance by 50% and increase total giving by 50% to $16,000.

  2. Increase number of artists participating.

  3. Expand board of directors.

  4. Increase local in-kind sponsorship, especially from woman-owned concerns.

  5. Apply for and obtain grants, especially from woman-oriented foundations and corporations. 

  1. Purchase smart phones (2), dedicated laptop computer (1), dedicated multifunction printer (1); letterhead stationery and office supplies.

  2. Expand board of directors, especially to include a financial officer and a co-director.

  3. Web guru.

  4. Set up membership structure.

  5. Collaborate with celebrity or other high-profile sponsor.

CEO Statement

The founding vision of ArtBra New Haven is threefold:

  1. to forge a therapeutic collaboration among breast cancer patients, their supporters, and the fine art community of Greater New Haven;

  2. to weave this partnership into a medical/financial safety net for under- and uninsured breast cancer patients; and

  3. to be a catalyst for joy among patients and their supporters during the often grueling period of treatment, through to recovery, and beyond.

Each year in the run up to the auction, my home is brightly festooned with dozens of astounding creations. They arrive daily, even a bit past the deadline. Everyone expresses how much they enjoy this unusual form of "art therapy." I am constantly amazed and awestruck at the creativity, ingenuity, talent, and generosity of those who come forward to participate in ArtBra.

One survivor, a retired fiber artist and teacher of needlework, fabricated a bra using the shells and sea glass she had collected during her walks on the beach while in treatment. She has not only created bras for our second and third years, she has been inspired in her mid-seventies to return to her teaching.

Some of our creations have an encore. “When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Pink Lemonade” was donated back to be displayed at the Breast Center Boutique. We have been told that many women say it broke the ice for them, helping them through the stressful and demoralizing experience of their first prosthetic fittings.

Many of our bras and fine art pieces are donated in honor of a beloved survivor's triumph over the disease or in memory of a friend or loved one lost to the disease. Several young people have donated creations or raised money in honor of their mothers, grandmothers, aunts or other important women in their lives.

The auction itself is a unique showcase of courage and artistic flair.  Among our valiant models our first year was a three-time survivor celebrating her fortieth birthday. This year, a 98 year-old survivor will model our “Celebrate Survival” bra. Each turn down the runway has a witty musical accompaniment.

Last year one young woman who came to support a friend, was herself diagnosed a few months later. She returns this year a confident and healthy survivor, submitting a beautiful creation for the auction. These are only a few examples of people touched by this effort.

Another notable effect of ArtBra New Haven is the strong friendships that have formed as a result of the project."We are all "sisters under the scars".

Board Chair Statement
ArtBra New Haven has, in its so far short existence, been successful in engaging breast cancer survivors, their supporters, and fine artists in the New Haven region. This has been an inspiring grassroots effort. The challenge, as I see it, is to increase ArtBra's reach and participation.
I have been working on this by speaking to community groups such as breast cancer support groups and Sisterhoods. I have displayed examples at local art shows, and have helped to hold "BYOBra" parties. These are gatherings where participants bring their ideas and supplies, and together make bras and other creations to submit for the auction. I hope to set a membership structure in place for the future, to keep the camaraderie going.
I continue to volunteer with ArtBra New Haven because it continues to reward my efforts in terms of emotional support. Creating bras that make fun of the disease, helps me cope with the persistent, low-level anxiety that is endemic to all cancer survivors. Sharing "Better Living Through Chemistry" and "You Look Radiant, Madame Curie", garnered great reaction at the first event, making me very happy. Anyone who has had to endure chemotherapy and a course of radiation treatment has an immediate frame of reference of those.
Perhaps even more important than the above, has been seeing how much pleasure and and satisfaction this project gives to others. Experiencing the joy in the room during the event is galvanizing. The sales manager at the Omni told me that in 12 years of doing her job, she had never felt so much energy in that room.
Aside from the bras, the fine artwork also speaks to the soul of both the artists and the survivors. One painting, NED Dance (no evidence of disease) was done by an 84 year old patient during her treatment. She said that when she was in pain, she "added a T", turning pain into paint. Her exuberant piece was bought by a recent survivor who has told me how happy it makes her every day when she sees it on her living room wall.
The ultimate, bittersweet example is that in the past six months, I have known three women who suffered catastrophic recurrences of their disease. All three told me before they died, how much fun they had at last year's ArtBra, and how much they were looking forward to this October. One was even attempting to make a bra to donate, despite her debilitating illness, but was unable to complete it before her death. It is impossible to put common value on such things, they are worth more to me than any funds I could ever raise. For me, this task manifestly worth doing.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Health Care / Health Support
Secondary Organization Category Diseases Disorders & Medical Disciplines / Cancer
Tertiary Organization Category Arts,Culture & Humanities / Fund Raising & Fund Distribution
Areas Served
New Haven
East Haven
Lower Naugatuck Valley
North Branford
North Haven
West Haven
Greater New Haven region, including all contiguous towns, and shoreline towns from Stratford to Clinton, etc.
Description A live runway auction of art bras and other fine artwork, made and modeled by breast cancer survivors and their supporters.
Population Served People/Families of People with Cancer / Females / Males
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals No
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. The annual result of our function is to donate all proceeds to the director's discretionary fund of the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital. Now that we have 501(c)(3) status, we will be able to collect data within the scope of HIPAA regulations.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. We measure success by amount of money raised, number of participants, the quality of submissions, and feedback from those who have enjoyed and benefited emotionally and psychologically from the event.
CEO/Executive Director
Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre
Term Start Jan 2013
  • Breast cancer survivor.
  • Professional production stage manager (twenty-five years).
  • Connecticut State Innovation Model Health Care Delivery Working Board (current board member).
  • Charter Oak Health Care Community Advisory Board (current board member).
  •  West Haven Emergency Action Taskforce (board member, 10 years).
  • Wightwood School (board member, 5 years).
  • Congregation Sinai (board member, 6 years).

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 60
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 0%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 0
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 0
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation N/A
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
CEO Comments Our major challenges are to build the board and to get major underwriting sponsorship.
Board Chair
Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre
Term Jan 2013 to Dec 2015
Board of Directors
Mrs. Serena Hatch Community Volunteer
Mr. Max Hyre retired
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Co-Chair
Mrs. Serena Hatch
Term Jan 2013 to Dec 2015
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2013
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2013
Projected Revenue $8,000.00
Projected Expenses $8,000.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
IRS Letter of Exemption
IRS Letter
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
CEO Comments Current year projected figures are conservative, and do not include outright donations. In 2012, we had approximately $1,800 in outright donations.
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 685 FOREST RD
West Haven, CT 065167932
Primary Phone 203 397-7955
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre
Board Chair Mrs. Gaye W. Hyre


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