State Representative Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge and Assistant Majority Leader, was featured in the Fort Dodge Messenger today for her work on the Artful Dodger project.

“After a year hiatus, the Artful Dodger project is back for 2008. Organizer and founder Helen Miller kicked off the project Wednesday at her home. The art theme is clocks and the focus next year will be cancer. All proceeds from the project and final auction in October 2008 will go toward local cancer support groups.

Area artists will donate their time and skills to make clocks for for the project. They will be put on display in the weeks leading up to the auction next year. The slogan for the project is ‘‘time for a cure,’’ which Miller said hits home for her. Her younger sister is a breast cancer survivor.

‘‘With my family history, it’s literally a matter of when,’’ Miller said.

Miller said the cause and the artistic endeavors should prompt more participation.

‘‘When you’re doing things with art and something that will be meaningful in people’s lives… we can get a large cross section of people.’’

‘‘There’s not a family that has not been touched by cancer,’’ said Webster County Supervisor Kim Motl who attended the kickoff.

‘‘Art really can be a positive influence in the community,’’ said artist Pam Sanders. ‘‘We can do wonderful things with art.’’

Having a year to prepare and promote the event will also help, Miller said.

The Artful Dodger was an annual project from 2002 through 2006. Miller said switching to every other year will give her and fellow organizers more time to promote the event get more people to participate.

‘‘We’re at a point where we can’t do this once a year,’’ she said.

More promotion may mean more money for a good cause.

The finished pieces will be displayed throughout Fort Dodge and the Statehouse in Des Moines.

That exposure and a chance to help a good cause has numerous artists willing to participate.

‘‘We have a very good group of usual suspects who come out,’’ Miller said. Some attended the kickoff with completed pieces of art. Laurel Mors made a clock using 12 watch faces. Chucky Tomlinson made one with a pink ribbon motif in keeping with the cancer support theme.

‘‘She’s just contagious,’’ said Tomlinson of Miller. ‘‘You can’t help but go along with her.’’