These masks were created by children whose families were struggling with financial hardship and homelessness. The base of each mask was built from recycled materials, then covered with gauze and wet plaster. When dry the masks were painted with acrylic paint and embellished Various aspects of the child’s personality are revealed on the mask. The children chose to show their likes and dislikes, what makes them happy or sad, feelings they share and those they keep hidden. Some pulled off their mask and shared openly, others were hesitant to share, preferring to keep their mask in place.

I made a silly shaped mouth because I like that I am funny. There is a pencil hanging around my neck because I like to draw. The big arrow on the top of my head shows that I am hopeful. I like to keep looking up and believing that things will get better. The two small arrows show that I am determined and do not give up.

Lucas, age 11

I decorated my mask with lots of colorful tribal patterns and shapes. Painting like this makes me feel happy. I get lost in creating the art.

De'Jah, age 13

I made my mask a lion because I have to put on a brave face when I go out in the world. I get teased out there. I am embarrassed when that happens, but I can’t show it. I have to look like it doesn’t bother me. I also made a lion because I am hunting for success. Sometimes when I wake up I even look like a lion. My hair is frizzy like a lion’s mane.

Valeria, age 10