"The Masks We Wear" Exhibits the Contemporary Face Mask Collection of Sara M. Vance Waddell in Pendleton

The show at Pendleton Street Photography curates more than 60 of Waddell's collection including a Black Lives Matter mask by fabric artist Carolyn Crump of Houston and cast face masks by Leslie Daly

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click to enlarge "The Masks We Wear" Exhibits the Contemporary Face Mask Collection of Sara M. Vance Waddell in Pendleton
Photo: Provided by Pendleton Street Photography

A new art exhibit at Pendleton Street Photography features the contemporary mask collection of Cincinnati art collector Sara M. Vance Waddell.

Curated by Ena M. Nearon, The Masks We Wear opens 5-9 p.m. Friday, July 31 and runs through Sept. 10. It aims to examine the symbolism of face coverings as the world learns to adapt to the new normal the coronavirus pandemic has ushered in. 

“The pandemic affected me in different ways. To cope, I started collecting masks that were made for protection as many of them were rather cool. I wanted to collect a few and have an exhibition,” said Vance Waddell in a release. “So many artists and designers were making really creative and sculptural ones I found myself obsessed with actively collecting them from all over the world. At this time there are a little over 60 in the collection.”

Works include a recently commissioned mask made by Texas fabric artist Carolyn Crump and inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests, and cast face masks by artist Leslie Daly.

The show will touch on the politicization of face masks in America, the hostility toward Asia with the rise of the "Chinese virus," the reality of racism in health care for Black Americans — both in the impact of COVID-19 and the "fear both for their health and personal safety if masked," says a release — and the economics of being able to afford a mask. 

“I am both proud and honored to accept the mantle of curating this memorable exhibit developed out of the pain and confusion of a world shut-down, exhibiting through the paradoxical rise of art and beauty,” said curator Nearon in the same release.

There will be a reception on from 5-9 p.m. Final Friday. The event is free but there is a suggested $10 donation to benefit The Carnegie in Covington. Those who donate will be automatically entered to win a raffle with a prize that includes an original mask, limited-edition silkscreen print series by M. Katherine Hurley and custom framing provided by Art Design Consultants.

Pendleton Street Photography is located at 1310 Pendleton St., Pendleton. More info at Facebook.com. 

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