Right now, Twirl should be gearing up for our annual Halloweenie party in the courtyard at Twirl.

It's one of our favorite events as we get to see all the amazing creativity of our community in full glory. Sadly, along with many of our other signature events like Invent Event, Global Cardboard Challenge and Twirl@The Paseo, it has had to be canceled this year.

However, while mass gatherings are not permitted, no one said anything about mask gatherings! After all, masks are our reality right now. And since they're going to be around for quite some time, Twirl and some of our friends thought we might as well have some creative fun with them.

People have been wearing masks for thousands of years, for all sorts of reasons. So we are inviting our community to go on a journey with us to explore different types of masks and the faces and feelings behind them.

By taking a more expansive view of "the mask," we hope to add depth and positivity to a topic that is pervasive in our lives today. Because even something designed to help us through this ordeal - a protective face mask - has led to some intense and divisive emotions.

This project will provide a playful, creative, fun exploration of masks, past and present. It will offer tools for checking in on our feelings and an outlet for expressing them. It will culminate in a community creativity project to connect us all.

Read on for details of how you can participate.

All shapes, sizes, colors and uses

Twirl has developed a fun, accessible and dynamic online platform for exploring masks. There are five different pathways for teachers, parents and kids ages pre-K to fifth grade to explore and learn about masks and mask making with resources, extension activities and fun videos featuring some familiar faces.

Hear from Dr. Cipry Jaramillo, the Taos Fire Department and artist Christina Sporrong about the practical masks they use in their work. Take a "twirl" back in time with Liana and Amber to Ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy and discover how theatrical masks transform their wearers.

Go on a trip to Africa and learn about the amazing techniques and materials used to make cultural masks. Find out why superheroes really wear their masks. And explore some of the feelings behind the masks we wear every day.

Cover your face and uncover your creativity

Our final pathway "Make Your Own Mask" features videos with ideas on how to make masks from all kinds of stuff lying around the house - water jugs, cereal boxes, egg cartons and bits of string.

Once you've made your mask, we hope you will share your creation for the Mask Gathering, a community art display in the form of a drive-by exhibition and projection later this year. We will also be featuring finished masks on the Mask Gathering website. If you'd like to share your creation, email a photo (at actual size from a phone) to anais@twirltaos.org or submit your mask in person at Twirl Too, 229D Camino de la Placita.

Creative materials pickup

Over the course of the next month, Twirl will be delivering creative mask-making kits to Taos kids through our partnerships with Youth Heartline, Taos Behavioral Health and the Nurturing Center. We will also be providing pickup opportunities at select school sites and at Twirl and will announce dates soon.

Masquerade

Coming in the spring of 2021, the Taos Center for the Arts, Twirl and an amazing lineup of talented Taos artists will be presenting an evening of performance, dance and music to celebrate the art of the mask.

So join us as we embark on this exploration of all things masks and uncover our creativity together - all while keeping our faces covered.

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