SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has announced a new collaboration that addresses the current pandemic and protests. The initiative highlights artist Nicole Cherubini, and MASKS4PEOPLE, an organization based in Catskill, that was founded in response to COVID-19 by regional artists to create and distribute masks free to the community.
The Tang collaboration is an edition of 500 unique masks based on Cherubini’s exhibition “Shaking the Trees” that will be distributed to Skidmore students and other college community members, as well as regional community groups taking part in the Tang’s educational outreach initiatives.
“Since the public can't come to the Museum, the masks are a way for the Museum to come to the public,” said Cherubini, in a statement. The artist divides her time between Hudson and Brooklyn, and is known for her boundary-breaking ceramic work and whose exhibition has transformed the Tang’s mezzanine into a community space with glazed tiles, woven chairs, ceramic sculpture, potted plants, and historical works from the Tang collection. “Working on this mask project helped me understand more about how to make a new kind of space.”
The masks are made of multiple elements that ensure no two are the same. The front of each mask has one of two silkscreen patterns that were hand-printed by Mark Hayden of Upstate Ink, a printing company in Catskill. One pattern is based on the tiles in Cherubini’s Tang installation and the other is based on a line drawing of the exhibition by Tang Designer Jean Tschanz-Egger. The inside of each mask has one of eight quotes about using one’s voice and racial injustice, such as Mother Ann Lee’s “Now in my mouth I hold… pure and burnished gold;” Angela Davis’s “We have to talk about liberating minds;” James Baldwin’s “Nothing can be changed until it is faced;” and Rebecca Solnit’s “There are voices raised in the absence
MASKS4PEOPLE started making masks in March, and have made over 7,500 masks for 175 organizations, including hospitals, healthcare centers, and community groups. M4P masks are made by a team of artists based in the Hudson Valley.