Behind the Mask
A Public Art Project And Exhibit
“We all deserve connection and love.”
-Freesia, participant who created the mask titled ‘The Higher Self’
What does it mean to be seen—and accepted—in our authenticity and wholeness? To have a space to explore the vastness of our emotional experiences without judgment, but rather with curiosity?
Behind the Mask explores a space where our emotions, whether joy or grief, aversion or delight, can all be welcomed and celebrated as vital experiences that contribute to our individual and collective growth, self-awareness, and healing.
In Behind the Mask, 10 special individuals in Vernon have shared a vulnerable, beautiful exploration of the unseen sides of themselves. At a time when mental health challenges have affected so many of us—is a story of hope, courage, and community.
Watch the Mini Documentary Here!
10 inspiring Vernon residents
with lived experiences explore and share the hidden sides of themselves through an uplifting journey of making art.
10 photographs and reflections
Participants were photographed wearing their masks in a setting of their choice. The masks, photographs, and reflections from each artist are now on display at VPAG in the exhibit ‘Behind the Mask.’
3 workshops & 10 masks
Guided by a local harm reduction coordinator and a renowned artist-facilitator who specializes in public art projects exploring societal issues, participants created masks through an intimate, storytelling process.
is being produced to record some of the remarkable moments and reflections along the way in creating ‘Behind the Mask.’ Stay tuned!
The photographs, if the project proceeds, will become public art installations this summer at these sites:
Gateway (Turning Points) X 2
Vernon Community Arts Centre
Civic Park Building
Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services
2 Pending Locations
Each mural will post a QR code to this landing page that will help viewers learn more about the project.
What can you do?
As Vernon considers Behind the Mask’s third and final phase—the installation of murals featuring the artists and their masks—we ask you to:
Learn about the story and the people behind the masks here and at the exhibit
Give feedback at the exhibit June 21 - July 5 as part of a public consultation process
How do we want Vernon to show up for any social issues in our community?
Is it with compassion?
What can we learn and gain from conversations about hard subjects?
Do we want Vernon to benefit from this public art opportunity or let the national grant go to another community?
Behind the Mask: Project FAQ's
In 2016, the Regional District of the North Okanagan adopted the Greater Vernon Cultural Plan.
One of the sixteen objectives included in the plan is to:
“Protect, support and encourage public art.”
What is the objective of public art?
1. Economic development
2. Cultural development
3. Community development
‘Behind the Mask’ meets all three criteria for public art.