Feb 252007
Authors: Ryan Ingwersen

It has been said that everyone wears a mask, yet probably not like those boasted at the Masks at MOCA exhibit, which features elaborate masks designed by various members of the community.

The exhibit held at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Arts, 201 S. College Ave, is showing off funky hand-made masks to be auctioned off for hundreds of dollars each.

One mask, “Bully Puppet,” has horns, curly hair and a rainbow-colored, decorated bow tie. The mask designed by local artist Bob Coonts also features eyeliner, mascara and wide blue eyes.

Another mask, “Facing Time”, designed by Paula Edwards, is painted in a metallic, glossy red and has been turned into a clock with gold hands and only the numbers three, six, nine and 12 in gold.

The exhibit also features variety of other masks including a glossy, smoke-colored mask overlapped by three birds; one solid black; another made of window screen wire; and another just as a black-frame outline.

The exhibit features a total of 150 clay masks that have been decorated by members of the community.

Those contributing to the project include people of all occupations, including art teachers, software engineers and architects.

The exhibit, which opened on Feb. 2, closes on Friday March 2 and is followed by a gala celebration on March 3.

The masks can be purchased by silent auction through March 3. All members of the community are invited to bid in the auction. Proceeds from the auction go to the exhibit and education programs of the museum.

“Some of them could go for thousands of dollars,” said Marianne Lorenz, executive director of the museum.

Lorenz said that since it is still early in the bidding process, the bids aren’t as high as she expects them to be.

“We have a few [masks] over a couple hundred dollars, maybe even one or two that are around $500 or $600,” said Lorenz. “But that’s nothing compared to what they will sell at.”

The museum hosts seven major exhibits per year, which is funded by the exhibit program. The museum also features studio programming for younger artists as part of their education programs.

“It’s pretty typical museum programming,” said Lorenz. “We have a full range of education programs for kindergarten through 12th grades.”

Associate sponsors of the exhibit include the Bohemian Foundation, KRFC radio and the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The exhibits help bring in a majority of the visitors, according to Lorenz.

“We have about 15,000 people come through the museum every year,” said Lorenz.

All members of the community are invited to bid and may check out current bids on the museum website when they are posted sometime next week. Names of the artists will also be posted on the museum Web site.

Staff writer Ryan Ingwerson can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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