Nine months after Hurricane Irma devastated St. John in September 2017, island residents gathered in school rooms, church assembly halls, senior facilities, and empty retail areas. For some hours, they set apart their seemingly endless hurricane restoration duties, selecting as an alternative to have interaction in resourceful play, mirrored image, and artistic expression: They made a mask.
The consequences have been outstanding. Over the path of numerous weeks, almost 500 masks had been completed as component St. John’s first public artwork challenge with an artwork remedy element.
The method of making these masks, and how the network was tormented by it, has been documented in a 12-minute movie, “Masks within the Aftermath.”

Now the creators of the mission need to take it numerous steps in addition. In addition to extending the film, they want to explore how the humanities can be incorporated with intellectual fitness applications in the U.S. Virgin Islands and create opportunities for neighborhood artists. In order to do that, they’ve launched a fundraising initiative on Indiegogo, a web crowdfunding website online for artists and marketers.

The movie “Masks inside the Aftermath” can now be considered with the aid of the general public at the venture’s fundraising web page. The page additionally describes the undertaking’s genesis, its many accomplishments, and its ability for assisting groups cope with screw ups.

The venture become at the beginning conceived by Kurt Marsh and Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight, two contributors of the Arts and Culture Recovery Committee – a part of St. John’s Long Term Recovery Team.
“Research has proven that community art initiatives and artwork therapy were powerful in wearing out creative community-building, that’s important inside the catastrophe healing manner,” Knight said. “This has been our collective experience on St. John after the hurricanes. Our revel in has proven us that artwork packages help communities heal and get better.”
Working with the mask is a well-known therapeutic practice, as it opens opportunities for individuals to discover elements of themselves, their fantasies, and their cultures. It’s even more suitable in the Caribbean where masks-making and masquerading have a long tradition. In reality, some of the project’s participants wore their masks at some stage in the St. John July 4th Festival parade.
The nearby community had further opportunities to revel in the mask while have been proven in two Cruz Bay locations in the course of the summer of 2018; following that, numerous dozen mask has been selected for a show at the Department of Interior in Washington D.C. Within the fall.

The whole technique becomes captured by means of filmmaker Crystal Fortwangler, assisted by using photograph designer William “Bill” Steltzer and St. John high school student Ameir Sprauve. The group at the back of “Masks in the Aftermath” now wants to enhance $25,000 to extend the film’s period and deepen the communique about the want to enhance get right of entry to intellectual fitness offerings.
“There is a superb want for greater intellectual fitness guide in our islands, and even extra so in the aftermath of screw-ups,” stated Knight. “In March 2019, V. I.Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. Declared a mental healthcare emergency within the U.S. Virgin Islands because of a scarcity of psychiatric physicians and behavioral health companies. We believe producing a characteristic-duration documentary film can assist make the case for expert artwork-therapy programs in the USVI.”

The venture’s creators now desire to carry collectively neighborhood intellectual health care vendors with artwork-remedy professionals and capture all of it on the movie. They also need to create possibilities for artists inside the community through several associated initiatives: St. John image artist Kamaria Penn is now working on an associate book, and art scholar Lauryn Sinclaire Samuel is designing a fixed of notecards that can be offered to elevate finances.
On the Indiegogo fundraising web page, donors can pick out (as a present) a poster, a book, or a fixed of notecards, depending on the quantity of the donation. They can also emerge as the owner of one of the unique masks made at some stage in the mission. (Many famous St. John artists made masks for the duration of the task, but consistent with the challenge’s nature, their paintings are nameless.)
As a further final result, the challenge’s creators desire to installation a St. John Arts & Cultural Emergency Fund to assist nearby artists in want.

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