The Vernon Public Art Gallery wants people to take a deeper look at the so-called “scary mask” project.
The gallery hosts a community consultation on the mural project behind the proposed mask, including a display of proposed art to decorate 10 buildings throughout downtown Vernon.
Behind the Mask is a three-part public art project in which eight Vernon people with mental health challenges, and two supportive local professionals, express who they are and how they want society to see them through the masks – the ones they’ve made, and write about creating the images they These were later captured and worn at places of their choosing in Vernon.
“Recognizing how severe the mental health issue caused by the coronavirus is, we wanted to create a conversation about mental health using visual arts as our language, creating awareness in a positive and engaging way,” says Executive Director Dawna Kennedy. Vernon Public Art Gallery. “We hope that people will share the show and think about these characters and also everyone behind these masks.”
Participants in the project are People with Live Experience (PWLE) who come from a range of backgrounds, and have been associated with the Turning Points Collaborative Society.
Their journey of self-exploration and mask-making was guided by Katie Green, a renowned facilitator artist who specializes in public art projects exploring societal issues. Participants created masks through the storytelling process along with support from the TPCS Harm Reduction Coordinator and the Learning and Community Engagement Coordinator at VPAG, who also co-created the art.
As the project approaches its third and final phase – the installation of murals featuring the participants and their masks, the City of Vernon has asked VPAG to give the public an opportunity to learn more about the project and provide feedback.
The exhibition The Behind the Mask is now on display at VPAG, and Vernon residents have the chance to see art before it becomes murals at 10 proposed locations.
As part of the education and counseling process, from June 21 to July 5, after viewing the exhibition, guests are invited to step up to a tablet at the exhibition and complete a survey.
“We hope that as many people as possible will come to the art gallery to really understand the project and participate in the public consultation process,” says Laurie Case, director of communications, Turning Points Collaborative Society. “It’s a powerful exhibit – presenting a diverse perspective in an important conversation about mental health. We thank the participants for creating these beautiful and vulnerable expressions of themselves, and for sharing them with the community.”
“We’ve already had a tremendous response from our community and the social services community about the importance of shedding light on mental health issues, and we see that when people visit the exhibition, they really get to know the people behind the masks and the intent and the results so high for this public art project, that it gives People have a broader perspective, “but we have a short period to go, revive it and make Vernon realize the many benefits to the economy, society, and culture.”
The Behind the Mask community consultation is open to residents of Vernon from June 21 to July 5, 2022, with extended gallery hours from 10am-6pm on weekdays and 11am-4pm on Saturdays.
The exhibition runs until July 19,
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