Regional Artists: Mark Soppeland,
Featured Museum: The Butler Institute of American Art
Featured Artist: Rafael Ferrer
Featured Work of Art: "Ven Daval Baricua"
Featured Teacher: Russ Bailey, Campbell City Schools
Masks have fulfilled important cultural functions in many
societies from earliest times. They are seen in many forms
in contemporary society and in some instances can be considered
works of art. By viewing Mark’s video presentation, your students
will get a new outlook on Old World ideas.
shows an eccentric love for transforming found objects into
sculpture, particularly three-dimensional masks. He discusses
the need to visualize the possibilities in objects; his appreciation
for both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs; and how he
uses his skills as a craftsman, designer and conceptualist
to create works that portray contemporary culture and historical
issues. The school project uses papier-maché, masking tape,
cardboard, foil and other objects to make masks.
from different geographical locations and learn about various
purposes of masks within different cultures.
- Pacific Indians
slides, prints, books, photos and examples of masks.
about masks in various cultures. Select brief passages
about masks to read to students or to hand out to them.
arrangements with the local art museum so students can
see examples of masks in the collection.
an assignment sheet for students clearly stating expectations
and evaluation criteria
student handouts on papier-maché and decorating techniques,
with appropriate illustrations and examples.
students to bring in a type of mask from home.
the Sharing Art video, “Found-Object Sculpture.”
students to demonstrate and discuss the masks they have
brought to class (e.g., a catcher’s mask, goalie’s mask,
Halloween mask, etc.). Discuss the range of ways that
masks are used in contemporary society.
examples of masks and discuss their universal appeal among
many cultures. Discuss various functions of masks within
cultures (e.g., to personify spirits or natural forces,
relate to ancestors and celebrate important events).
the issue of masks as art. Encourage students to discuss
questions such as these: Were masks considered works of
art among tribal societies? Are they considered works
of art today? Is it appropriate to display a mask from
another culture as a work of art in an American museum?
Why or why not? Can we appreciate the design and expression
of a traditional mask from another culture? Why or why
“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” by Picasso and ask students
to point out how this painting relates to African masks.
Provide information about the interest Picasso and other
European artists had in African art.
and discuss slides, prints, etc. of masks from many different
cultures. Include African, Egyptian, Pacific Indian, Far
East and others.
the discussion of masks, view them from the four perspectives
of the art disciplines, asking questions such as these:
did the creator of the mask use the formal properties
to achieve a particular expressive quality?
does the mask express?
masks were created as a necessary part of a ritual,
can we classify them as art?
cultural and historical background information might
be needed to better understand a particular mask?
might that information be found?
was the mask made?
materials and techniques were used by the artist?
students will start to construct masks by forming papier-maché
over anarmature (plastic form, paper plate, etc.).
the mask is sturdy, features can be added with cardboard
and other materials, keeping in mind previously viewed
masks (could be ancient and classic to futuristic and
construction is complete, the mask will be decorated in
a style like Mr. Soppeland’s creations, using soft metals
(copper, aluminum brass), wire and other materials.
Lower Grade Level Project
main procedure, adapt Student Preparation to the students’
level of ability.
students will create a three-dimensional mask from a cardboard
students will attach paper and cardboard onto canister
to create a Soppeland-like mask.
students can complete decoration by adding beads, feathers,
paint and yarn.
Higher Grade Level Project
main procedure, using the following as the Classroom Project.
students will construct a three-dimensional lighted mask
from a large coffee can.
students will punch holes into a coffee can using a hammer
hot glue, the students will attach found objects such
as craft sticks and spools. Metal can also be added with
rivets or screws if available.
students will complete decorating by painting and adding
other items and will ultimately
place a candle on the inside to project light through
slides of four masks and ask students to write about the
masks and their cultural contexts, comparing two masks
for contrasting imagery, subject, technique and style.
a slide of a mask students have not seen previously and
ask students to write a formal analysis of it, including
a justified interpretation of the mask’s expression.
of a mask is a fundamental requirement; technical skill
and craftsmanship will also be taken into consideration
for final evaluation.