BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Bunnie Cannon says she inherited her love of LSU. She’s the daughter of 1959 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon and has worked for the university for 30 years in roles that help raise funds and increase visibility in the community.
Now, she’s using her time, talent and artistic skills to add a bit of sparkle to already dazzling sports programs — all while raising tens of thousands of dollars to help athletes.
Born in 1969 as the youngest of five children, Cannon says she grew up in a home where her mom (also an athlete) was an artist. Cannon said her mother started “decorating eggshells back in the 1970s. The best way for me to describe it is it is similar to the Russian Fabergé Eggs. She always used flatback crystals and made these very intricate designs.”
Cannon liked the look, not the eggs. She took art lessons and wanted to “bling it out a bit.” Now, she uses Swarovski and Preciosa crystals on everything she makes — including bedazzled tequila bottles, Coke bottles and wine glasses.
Love for LSU shines through
Cannon got two degrees at LSU and has worked there since 1992. She spent 12 years as the assistant vice chancellor for institutional advancement in the chancellor/president’s office and currently serves as the senior director of outreach and strategic initiatives for the School of Veterinary Medicine.
Her love for the Tigers shines through in her artwork, which is varied. She said purple and gold have adorned a baseball helmet, baseballs, footballs and a football helmet.
Cannon has made two purple basketballs with crystals as gifts for LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey after the NCAA championship win. They had the “National Championship logo on the front and National Champions on the back along with the Nike symbol and LSU on it,” she said.
“To me, Coach Mulkey is so special,” Cannon said. “She could have written her ticket to any school in the country – but she chose to come home to Louisiana and work for LSU. She has said she wants to do something positive for the state. My father watched her play in high school and followed her career. He admired her from afar and when she came here, I wanted to help her in any way that I could. I never dreamed it would be through crystal basketballs.”
Art helps raise funds for LSU athletes
Cannon said she has worked on crystal art for “about 10 years and just started with the sports items in the last three years.” So far, she loves it and isn’t planning to quit soon.
She enjoys it when her work helps benefit the school and programs that are such a big part of her life.
Cannon made an LSU football helmet for the university’s name image likeness event, and it brought in $55,000 for the football NIL.
Last year, one of her purple basketballs sold for $20,000 to benefit the Fast Break Club.
Another four of her basketballs raised $6,000 each for the women’s basketball program.
Want a bit of the bling?
Cannon shared some pictures of her artwork over the years.
Current projects include a tequila bottle for Jim Urdiales at Mestizo Louisiana-Mexican Cuisine for the 25th anniversary and a softball helmet and softball for LSU head softball coach Beth Torina.
If you are interested in buying any of Cannon’s artwork, it’s sold at Acadian Frame and Art in Baton Rouge.
“The crystals are so expensive, and they take a long time to complete so the items are expensive,” she said. “I will never get my time out of it, but I normally charge the cost of the crystals plus a little for my time. For instance, for a basketball, I may have $3,500 worth of crystals on it. So, I would charge about $6,000.”
To commission a piece, message her through her Facebook page.