News

Community-Wide Facemask Project

The Michigan Legacy Art Park (MLAP), in collaboration with the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA), is facilitating a creative way to foster “togetherness.” Through this project, people can learn what everyone else was and is still going through. As a result, participants will reconnect with their community as they begin the journey back to normalcy.

The groups are offering masks at no cost to anyone who wishes to participate. A contact form where you can make your request is available at www.RamsdellTheatre.org/facemask.

MLAP started this project earlier in 2020. The project asked participants to reflect and then decorate a paper-mache mask to express personal stories during the current health crisis. In the exploration of this powerful symbol, the feelings it invokes, and to bring the Art Park family closer together during this challenging time — the Volunteer Director of Education Patricia Innis led the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” art project with their volunteers, Board Members, artists, and staff.

“The project not only gave people something new to think about it also gave them a creative way to express their feelings and experiences. Many people found the process cathartic and looked forward to seeing what others had been going through,” said Patricia Innis.

“A mutual supporter of both groups brought us together to talk about how we can work on putting together an exhibit and involve more people,” said Xavier Verna, Executive Director of the RRCA.

The groups reached out to other organizations like the senior center, Manistee Friendship Society, City Council, Conservatory of Dance, Youth Advisory Council, Youth Armory Project, Vogue Theatre, and the list goes on. Amy Wojciechowski, director of the Youth Armory Project, shared how this has already made a positive impact on someone’s life.

“We had a family stop by for food from the food truck this morning. I recognized the family because they attend Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, where I am a member. Our pastor, Dr. James Friesner, passed away on Tuesday night, and we all felt very close to him. Dr. Friesner had an especially close bond with the youngest member of this family. The mother of this family just sent me the following message – ‘thank you for sending those masks for them to do. My son has not had an easy time with the pastor passing away. He finally did something and colored that mask.’

Webinars have been scheduled for anyone who wants to get ideas on how to decorate their mask. Local artists Lynn Williams and Mary Wahr are leading both webinars scheduled for December 22 and January 5 at 3pm. Registration is required, and the links can be found at www.RamsdellTheatre.org/facemask.

Masks must be completed by January 12. The RRCA will arrange pickups or a drop off at the Ramsdell. The exhibit will feature all of the masks that are turned in, and it will be up for the month of February in Hardy Hall (101 Maple St, Manistee, MI 49660).