Handmade Taino ceramic & fire masks, pre-Columbian inhabitants of Quisqueya/Hispaniola, now know as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

CALL TO ARTISTS OF ALL AGES – we want YOU to create and share your masks with us in this online art show! Make masks that are safe AND fashionable, fun, and industrious!

AmadorArts is putting on an online art show titled ‘MASK UP,’ which brings together fashion, safety, and creativity. Artists of ALL modalities are welcome to enter and create a mask that expresses their individual talents – painting, sculpting, writing, crafts and collage – the sky is the limit! Submissions can even be in video or film format, so if you are a performance artist, we encourage you to enter!

Masks can be used to celebrate your cultural heritage, your individual style, and your commitment to a SAFE AMADOR. Masks can accentuate and spotlight your unique personality, as well as expand your opportunities for individual expression.

Pat Crew, District 1 Supervisor in his Native Sons of the Golden West Mask

There is no deadline for submissions, as this show will be taking place throughout COVID-19. Artists may include artist bio and statement, maximum 500 characters. No fee to enter show. A signed show entry form will need to be submitted for entry. Local artists who wish to sell their work in this show must have a profile on the AmadorArts Directory. Artists outside of the area who wish to sell their works must also be donors in addition to having a profile on our directory.

Questions can be directed to, 209-256-8166. This show is made possible by the Amador County Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council, a state agency.

MASK UP Online Art Show Entry Form PDF

Rich Hoffman, CEO of Amador County Fair and Board Member of Amador County Arts Council.


Masks have been worn in nearly all cultures, for various reasons, since the Stone Age. Masks have been worn as a form of disguise, by an actor in a performance, as part of a religious ceremony, as part of membership in a secret society, as punishment for a criminal or in celebration of a holiday.

Egyptians used masks as part of their burial ceremony. The masks that were placed upon the face of the deceased often contained spells intended to protect the spirit on its journey into the afterlife. The masks were usually painted with gold and contained precious stones.

Many of Africa’s native cultures used masks as part of their religious ceremonies, as well as part of ceremonial costumes. They often were made to represent the spirits of ancestors or of certain local deities. A dancer wearing the mask was sometimes thought to be possessed by the spirit represented by the mask he wore.

Shang Dynasty bronze face mask, China

In Japan, China and other parts of Asia, masks had religious purposes or were part of traditional theater. Many of the masks were influenced by Buddhist, Hindu and Indian literature, and were inspirations in various Asian art forms including theater.

Native American masks were used for purposes similar to that of the masks in Africa. However, in addition to its spiritual function, the Native American mask was sometimes used for entertainment or for medicinal purposes.

Melissa Haines, CEO of Visit Amador (Amador County Council of Tourism) in her Visit Amador Mask.


The comedy and tragedy masks have come to represent theater. These masks were first developed in ancient Greece and had both an entertainment and religioufunction. A similar tradition is that of the masked fool; a masked fool of some sort is found throughout many cultures and continents. The masked fool’s purpose in theater was to keep order. The fool kept children from being unruly and distracted the audience from the dressing room or scene changes. In society, the fool questioned the status quo without the repercussions others might have faced.

In medieval time, a punishment often meted out was that of forcing the criminal to wear a shame mask or brank. The metal masks were worn in public displays and might have included the “swine mask” for a man who had mistreated a woman or the “hood of shame” for a student who had performed poorly.

Sese wood and recycled glass seed beads “Colors of Ghana” African mask by Victoria Agyepomaa, Ghana

Branks might have been worn by a woman for nagging her husband or gossiping. The brank often included a tongue-depressor with sharp edges that was placed in the mouth to make talking painful.

The tradition of Halloween masks and Halloween costumes finds its origins in Celtic culture. Disguises were used to confuse the ghosts that came out on Samhain, a festival at the end of the harvest season. Frightening masks were often used because these were believed to scare away malicious spirits.




Ideas & Inspirational Images


MASK UP Online Gallery


Sander van de Bor

Artist Bio: Wear a Mask, Save a Life
Engineer by day, artist by night. Stimulating the use of technology by combining different art forms, usually textiles, with electronics. Most of the work is showed at Maker faire and STE(A)M festivals or taught to others through STEAM workshops.

Artist Statement: Scrap fabric, netting and nu-foam used to defuse the LED’s. Small micro-controller programmed in Arduino to create the heartbeat pattern. Small button inside the mask can be used to change the pattern or turn off the LED’s.



Betz Arroyo

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Artist Bio: I am Dr. Betzaida Arroyo. I work as a Program Integrity Manager at Optum, the data analytics branch of United Health Group. I currently live in Pine Grove, CA, but am originally from New York City. In NYC, although the Mecca of arts and culture, I wasn’t exposed to the arts. It is only as an adult that I’ve exposed myself to a myriad of arts and culture. I don’t consider myself an artist, but I enjoy attempting to create beautiful things.

I believe arts and culture are essential for building community, supporting development, nurturing health and well-being.

Artist Statement: The vejigante is a folkloric figure whose origins trace back to medieval Spain. The legend goes that the vejigante represented the infidel Moors who were defeated in a battle led by Saint James. To honor the saint, the people dressed as demons took to the street in an annual procession. Over time, the vejigante became a kind of folkloric demon, but in Puerto Rico, it took on a new dimension with the introduction of African and native Taíno cultural influence.

The Africans supplied the drum-heavy music of bomba y plena, while the Taíno contributed native elements to the most important part of the vejigante costume: the mask. As such, the Puerto Rico vejigante is a cultural expression singular to Puerto Rico.–



Baker Street West / Baker Street West Players

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Artist Bio: The Baker Street Players are a repertory theatre company whose focus is on the literature of Arthur Conan Doyle and his detective, Sherlock Holmes. Performing in radio theatre, full stage productions, and mystery dinner improv at Baker Street West, Amador County’s most unique venue. Audiences are surrounded by Victorian London for all performances, so it’s theatre by emersion.

Artist Statement: Focusing on the MASK UP project our actors and docents took an opportunity to spotlight not only Baker Street West but favorite characters from the world of Sherlock Holmes and beyond.



Linda Hein

Frida Kahlo by Linda Hein

Artist Bio: Linda (James) Hein has been a costumer for Sutter Creek Theatre, Volcano Theatre Company, and for Baker Street Players since 2006. She has been nominated five times by SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance) for Best Costume in either a comedy or a drama. She has also received from SARTA a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement for her work in Costume Design.

Artist Statement: The focus of this photograph is not so much about the costume but on the idea that wearing a mask can be a creative endeavor as well as a practical act. “Frida believes that everyone is entitled to their unique form of expression. Just do it with a mask! It can be freeing and felicitous! (Mask designed by Kathleen Rich from Volcano, CA).”

Website: none


Alicia van de Bor

Tyvek Mask, Tyvek and Fluorescent Jelly Inks, NFS

Artist Bio: Alicia van de Bor is a Mexican-American artist who was born and raised in Stockton California and recently moved to Oakdale California to attend California State University Stanislaus where she plans to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art. Alicia’s work is currently on exhibit at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art.

Artist Statement: I made the mask from a black polyethylene material called Tyvek which is lightweight, durable, breathable, and best of all resistant to water, abrasion, and bacterial penetration. The design is a doodle, using fluorescent jelly inks. I love making these masks because drawing is a great stress reliever, the colors are uplifting and playful, and each mask is unique!



Alyssa Vargas

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Artist Bio: Alyssa Vargas is a visual artist from Pioneer, CA. She is the Program Coordinator at AmadorArts and the owner and artist behind Gecko Cave Designs, a niche apparel store on Etsy. Alyssa received her AA in Studio Art from Folsom Lake College in May of 2019, and is currently striving for her AS in Biology. Her focus is Herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians. She was honored to accept the Kingsley Merit Scholarship Award in 2019 and had her work displayed in a temporary show at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Much of her art is based upon her love of nature and animals.

Artist Statement: “Iridescent Visitor” represents the feeling of misplacement, or having an alien-like existence, in a society that stifles creativity. The Iridescent Visitor expresses her individuality and style physically, therefore she stands out in every social interaction. Those who pass by can’t help but look and whisper. Some criticize, while others secretly wish they had the courage to express themselves as the Iridescent Visitor does.

This piece was created using a plastic party mask as the base. I used black and galactic effect spray-paints, acrylic paints, rhinestones, fake eyelashes, and a hoop body jewelry ring in its creation.



Sarah Cuthill

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Artist Bio: I am Sarah Cuthill and I am a freelance artist based in Mountain Ranch, Calaveras County. I spend my time illustrating, painting, with my hands in clay, and teaching art in schools. Art has always been my truest passion and I am constantly working to improve my skills.

Artist Statement: Being of German and Swiss heritage, I was inspired by traditional Krampus masks featured in the Christmas traditions of the Alpine region. I’m lucky enough to have friends that admire my weirdness and we began performing Krampuslauf (Krampus run) for local parades almost 3 years ago.
I made eight of these masks using durable thermoplastic and a hand-sculpted form. The horns are made of foam and bolted onto the mask itself along with the fur hood of each costume. They aren’t made of wood like the traditional Krampus masks in Europe, but they sure are lighter to wear!



Ree McLaughlan Brown

Hidden Bandit Mask, Alcohol Ink & Mixed Media Printed on Cloth, For Sale Through Zazzle

Artist Bio: Local Artist sharing to make a difference. Each piece of art shares an emotion and story to engage you. Ree has a studio where she creates art in alcohol ink, encaustic wax, mixed media, acrylic, oil paint and cold wax.

Artist Statement: “Hidden Bandit” is an alcohol ink & mixed media that raised $300 for Tri-County Wildlife. The art has been printed on masks through “Zazzle” in Artistry by Ree Collection.


Penny West

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Artist Bio: Penny West is a writer and artist of many mediums, including her current favorite paper collage. She lives 10 miles east of Mokelumne Hill in a solar ridge top home/studio that she and her husband designed and built in 1979. Her background includes public relations, graphic design, rural arts management, that included presenting concerts, art education, and public arts events.

Artist Statement: Animal Mask – I altered an Indonesian animal mask so I could breath and drink liquids. If you don’t wear a mask, you’re a donkey.

Cloth Mask – This was one of my popular versions I made right at the virus beginning.

Website: N/A


Marleen Olive

Black and White Mask, NFS

Artist Bio: Marleen Olive is a watercolor, mixed media, and collage artist who lives in the Sierra Foothills of California. She’s an art instructor and sells her paintings online and at Gallery 10 in Sutter Creek CA.

Artist Statement: None.



Alana Cash

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Artist Bio: Alana Cash is a writer, writing teacher and filmmaker.

Artist Statement: The mask was inspired by Jack Dorsey CEO of Twitter as he appeared before the congressional hearings on social media regulator in October.

Website: N/A


Para obtener información en español, comuníquese con Betzaida Arroyo al (916) 600-8874 o envíe un correo electrónico a Gracias.

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