The opening night reception of the annual Mask Exhibit at the Museum of Art Fort Collins is what I've been looking forward to the most over the past several weeks. I've dabbled in creation and art, but this is the first time that displaying my work felt real, and I put a lot of time and love into the creation of "Amak" to get to this point. Who's "Amak"? She is my mask.

The Mask Exhibit is unique in that all participants are given the same clay mask to use in any way they want for an art piece. I've been told that as long as the mask, or pieces of the mask, are a part of your final piece, it's included in the exhibit and auction.

I left my mask intact, and instead painted it black with copper accents. Then, I attached an antler that I found while we were camping near Red Feather, which I had wrapped with copper wire that I found in a tin of beads my dad had kept the 70's. The beads were a personal touch of mine, too, as they came from a beautiful friend of mine⁠— their turquoise color shone against the copper; I strung and restrung and restrung and restrung them in order to get their pattern just right.

The metal piece over the eye was something I removed from a sunhat my mom bought me. I've made pieces before that I've felt proud of, but this mask means something special to me. I was excited to share that feeling with the community on opening night of the exhibit.

Museum of Art Fort Collins

Unfortunately, opening night couldn't happen because of the coronavirus, and the museum is currently closed. I was disappointed, but I know this is one of the many many important things that didn't happen during this bizarre time.

However, the masks can still be seen and bid on through an online auction. All masks start at a $50 bid, and the proceeds go to support Fort Collins' resident art museum. There's an amazing amount of variety among all the pieces that were submitted, there seems to be a mask for everyone. All of the local artists who participated did an incredible job, so let's show them some support by bidding on these masks.

I, personally, would be thrilled if mine went for over $200. After all, that's a real antler, turquoise and copper⁠— and the mask itself is the real result sweat, tears and time.

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