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A marvelous masquerade march.

A three-week unit of study into the wonderful world of masks culminated in a Marvelous Masquerade March. Each K-5 class reviewed, researched and studied various mask styles and forms, ranging from the caveman's mask for hunting purposes to Oriental Warrior Protection masks. Students investigated the purpose of maskmaking and discovered all masks are works of art, and can also be described as false faces or disguises to be used for fun, protection, hunting, healing, ceremonial festivities, or costume attire.

The students incorporated several elements and principles of art into their mask designs, beginning with line and shape formations. They created silly, scary, magical and whimsical looks through their choices of shapes, colors and textures which were applied to the surface of the false faces. Three important factors were stressed in the building and decorating process: exaggeration, repetition and the symmetrical quality of the elements and materials used in construction. The students incorporated many three-dimensional techniques into their masks, such as papier-mache buildup, folding and cutting, application of special materials, and foil/paper sculpture.

The Masquerade March itself was held during the month of March in celebration of Youth Art Month. Parents, friends, staff and administrators were invited to don mask creations and become part of the march. The parade began with the Bubbly Balloon Kindergartners marching to pick up the first grade students and their Bird and Butterfly eye masks. From there the parade continued to grow as each class was picked up adorned in their masks. Finally, the entire school body was marching to the originally composed music being played over the intercom.

The parade culminated in the gymnasium where parents and friends were waiting to enjoy the festivities. A short program was held to review the purpose and fun of maskmaking which ended with each class revealing their identities. The P.T.O. mothers also enjoyed the event by baking homemade goodies and creating their original masks to wear and share.

The children enjoyed celebrating Youth Art Month with a special event of maskmaking, but the concept could also be incorporated into an October study of masks and Halloween fun.

Beverly A. Wolpa teaches art at the Skyline and Westridge Elementary Schools, Elkhorn, Nebraska.
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Title Annotation:Masks
Author:Wolpa, Beverly A.
Publication:School Arts
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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