Host Your Own “Stay Safe” Mask Project

If you’re interested in collaborating with the Art Park, hosting an exhibit, or to receive guidance on how to run your own version of the project, please email Volunteer Director of Education Patricia Innis. If you’d like to do it yourself, our handy guide follows.

“Stay Safe” Mask Project Highlights at Michigan Legacy Art Park’s Discovery Grove

In August of 2020, Michigan Legacy Art Park artist and Volunteer Education Director, Patricia Innis, launched the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Mask Project as a way for people to connect during a challenging time and share their experiences about the pandemic and their hopes for a future after quarantine.

“We want this project to reflect what people have been doing and experiencing during the pandemic — and we hope it helps us understand what others have been going through and begin to come together again and move forward,” said Innis.

Since launching, over 500 people have created and decorated masks that reflect their deeply personal experiences. Taken together, the masks paint a powerful portrait of our community and connectedness.

As this project continues to expand to groups and contributors across the country, we put together this simple guide to help you host your own version from wherever you are.

Step #1: Create Your Group

Anyone can do the project by themself, but we recommend you put together a group and try to get people of different ages, new friends, or family across the country to participate. One of the most interesting and rewarding parts will be connecting with others and learning about their experiences during this tough time.

The project is super simple and easy, most people complete their masks in less than an hour. Get commitments in advance and ask others to help you recruit, once you know how many masks you need you’re ready to go.

Step #2: Order Your Masks

Blank paper mache masks are available in many places, but we recommend making it easy and using — we’ve put a few links below. The masks cost about $1 each.

Pssst! while you’re on Amazon, choose Michigan Legacy Art Park as your “Amazon Smile” organization and our nonprofit will get a small donation with each of your purchases at no cost to you. This small step helps our education programs thrive.

10 Pack of Blank Masks for $12.71 on Amazon

24 Pack of Blank Masks for $18.99 on Amazon

30 Pack of Blank Masks for $21.99 on Amazon

Pro-Tip: Project Director Patricia Innis recommends these high-quality masks, which are the original versions she selected for the project. 6 Pack of Blank Masks for $8.89 from The Oriental Trading Company, Inc.

Step #3: Reflect and Get Creative!

Think back on this past year and however it affected you most, or had an impact on your life, your work or your family — there’s no wrong way to do it, but when you have something in mind — follow your gut and decorate the blank mask in any direction that helps you express this experience of the quarantine and the pandemic.

The experiences can reflect events, thoughts, and emotions (whether positive or negative or both). It does not have to be recognizable to anyone but the person making it.

You don’t need to be an “artist” and you really don’t even need to buy any special supplies. Look around or share materials as a group. Sharpie Pens, paints, pencils, gel pens, crayons, markers, construction-paper, glitter, tokens — it will all work! Others have even cut and pasted images in collages to decorate the mask.

Pro-Tip: If you’re doing the project as a group, use the time together to share your experiences and thoughts as you create. Set a time-limit for creating to make it easier to manage and feel finished (the greatest thing you can ever give an artist is a deadline!). When you’re done, ask everyone to talk about their mask and what it felt like to make it. Families can use this time to help understand each other and talk together about the pandemic.

Step #4: Please Take Photos and Share Them!

When your masks are finished, we want to ADD them to our growing online gallery and list of participants. We may even ask to include your mask in future exhibits. Please share by emailing and don’t forget your name, age of the participants, and where the masks were created.

You can also share anytime online — tag #StaySafeArtProject in your posts.

Collaborators and Participants :

Don’t miss the “Stay Safe Mask Exhibit” February 5 to 27, 2021 at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee, Michigan. Free RSVPs are required to reserve a date and time to experience the gallery, click here.

Installation in Progress at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee, Michigan

Our growing list of community projects, groups, families and organizations who have become a part of this project. Please share your group with us so we can add you to the list.

  • Kalkaska Senior Center
  • Goodwill Inn Traverse City
  • Brethren High School
  • Onekama High School
  • Manistee High School
  • Casman Academy, Manistee
  • Armory Youth Group, Manistee
  • Manistee Senior Center
  • Manistee Friendship Society
  • Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts

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