Pic courtesy of Roxie Darling.

Wallplay & 25 Kent have launched “Masks In The Wild“, a grassroots public health project that will provide artists with a stipend and materials to create one-of-a-kind masks that will be available to New Yorkers and essential workers for free. The goal of this project is to remove the fear and stigma surrounding wearing a mask in public by turning it into an opportunity for creativity and self-expression. Interested artists may respond to the open call for submissions on www.masksinthewild.com.

The ability to provide stipend and material resources to artists who are selected to participate in Masks in the Wild was made possible through the support of a grant awarded to Wallplay by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. On the launch of the project, Wallplay Founder, Laura O’Reilly said, “While Wallplay’s 14 physical locations remain closed to the public due to COVID-19, we have set out to continue distributing resources to the local creative community and serve our city. By utilizing masks as a canvas, artists can physically connect with the public in a safe and essential way. Art is essential in helping uplift the human spirit. We need to celebrate and connect with the vital energy that art creates now more than ever.”

After the mandatory closure of Wallplay’s exhibitions at 25 Kent in Williamsburg, Wallplay set out to repurpose its spaces for essential use. 25 Kent is now being utilized as a fulfillment center for artist-made PPE where mask-making kits and materials are being packaged for delivery to artists. All participating artists will receive sanitization materials and packaging to safely distribute their creations. Along with a stipend, artists selected to participate in Masks In The Wild will either receive plain white pre-made masks or free base materials including cotton fabric, elastic, and polyester to be used as an insert layer — depending on their sewing abilities or requests. Artists are encouraged to gift their masks to essential workers, friends, loved ones or anyone in their community; artists and recipients alike are invited to share images of their mask using the hashtag #masksinthewild.

Masks In The Wild also serves as a digital resource hub for the general public on homemade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Visitors to the website can view instructional PDFs, as well as mask-making videos, open source patterns and access CDC mask sanitation guidelines. All are encouraged to participate by making their own masks at home. Through these free resources and the de-stigmatization of mask-wearing, Masks In The Wild aims to transform this “new normal” into a culturally-encouraged act of love towards our neighbors.

To apply for the stipend click here or go to www.masksinthewild.com

Wallplay welcomes private and public partners who would like to participate in Masks In The Wild. If you or your company are interested in partnering, or providing fiscal or material donations, please contact masksinthewild@wallplay.com.

About Wallplay
Wallplay is a hyper-local platform that programs & operates vacant spaces with commercial pop-ups & art exhibitions until landlords secure permanent tenants. Wallplay transforms spaces into community hubs. We provide the public access to discover art installations & experiential brand pop-ups. Our spaces are powered by community; we facilitate the ability for locals to apply to program the spaces that inhabit their neighborhood. Wallplay currently programs & operates locations across three neighborhoods, including ON CANAL, 25 KENT & Wallplay Seaport. Since being founded, Wallplay has hosted over 500 exhibitions and branded pop-ups. Its public art program has reached millions of New Yorkers.

About 25 Kent
Positioned between Wythe and Kent Avenues and running a full square block from North 12th to North 13th Streets, 25 Kent—developed by Rubenstein Partners—is ideally located in a neighborhood that is young, vibrant and filled with entrepreneurs, artists and artisans. Designed by Hollwich Kushner as Design Architect and Gensler as Design Development Architect, the building was conceived to be a hub of innovation in which the tech, creative, design, production and light manufacturing industries can collaborate and grow together.

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