monca’s Halloween ‘Mask●er●ade’ connects community through crafts


Various supplies were provided for mask-decorating, courtesy of monca. Photo by Maricarmen Becerra-Gonzalez

Chico’s Museum of Northern California Art kicked off its third installation of “3rd Fridays @monca” on Oct. 15, showcasing clay sculpting, altar building and mask-decorating workshops.

The event drew approximately 40 attendees, the event’s largest crowd yet, Executive Director Pat Macias said.

“Our whole goal was to get people together on a weekday that would just be a place for people to have fun,” Macias said. “[You] don’t have to have a date, could be a friend, you could come alone. We wanted to draw in different age groups, and that’s been successful, actually.”

3rd Friday @monca attendees work on decorating their masks. Photo by Maricarmen Becerra-Gonzalez

The Mask●er●ade’s success was largely due to collaboration with local artists.

Artist Christine MacShane provided masks used for the decorating workshop, which was the main event. Glitter, glue and sequins were a few of the supplies laid out on fold-out tables of the workshop floor with nearly every seat filled. The masks, intended for a project postponed due to COVID-19, served as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the state of a pandemic world.

Blank masks used for the mask-decorating event, originally intended for a Mardi Gras project pre-COVID. Photo by Maricarmen Becerra-Gonzalez

“Societally there’s a lot of things going on with masks,” MacShane said.

She referenced the discourse around mask mandates and the figurative masks of political tension that have erupted over lockdown.

Masks decorated by attendees were put on display, ready to be judged on Oct. 30, at the museum’s Halloween party. Photo by Maricarmen Becerra-Gonzalez

Tucked in the museum’s library corner, potter Chris Yates held a clay workshop. Attendees sculpted colored clay into Halloween-themed figures.

“Every spot was filled,” Yates said. “There were people working at every station I could set up.”

The masks and sculptures created by attendees will be entered in a competition to be judged at the museum’s Halloween party at the end of the month. All proceeds from the event will go toward funding future workshops and community events.

“Halloween Party @monca” will be held on Oct. 30, from 5-6:30 p.m. for families and 7-10 p.m. for adults. Linda Watkins Bennett of Chico Action News Now and Dori McKay of 95.1 FM are expected to judge the entries.

Maricarmen Becerra-Gonzalez can be reached at [email protected]