La Mesa-based artist Marty Ornish makes face masks. Photo courtesy of Visions Art Museum

When the nation saw a shortage in much-needed face masks, the volunteers behind Visions Art Museum took matters into their own hands. The museum emailed more than 4,000 people who sprung into action making thousands of masks for the community from April through May.

“We saw our role as providing information about the best practices for making masks, helping volunteers connect with organizations accepting masks, encouraging making masks for essential workers (masks for neighbors), and collecting fabric for people involved in mass production of masks,” said Laura Mitchell, executive director of the museum. “Making masks is a wonderful and creative way for our members to draw on their passion for textile art and their skills as artists to serve our community.”

Visions Art Museum. Courtesy photo

Today, the Visions Art Museum in Liberty Station is still working to engage and help the community despite the museum being physically closed to visitors. The museum has launched numerous online galleries, programs and “Stir Crazy Challenges,” a weekly project where fans create using the materials at home. Activities for young artists have also been shared by the museum.

“Visions Art Museum is committed to being relevant to San Diego as a community and to textile artists and enthusiasts in this region and beyond,” Mitchell said. “Museums don’t live in a vacuum. Art does not live in a vacuum. VAM strives to be responsive to the community’s interests and life experiences, and at this time, to its health and safety needs as well.”

Looking ahead, Mitchell said the museum plans to launch a “Maskerade” contest for “New Year’s Eve-worthy PPE.”

“We’ve gotten lots of feedback and words of appreciation for these weekly creative bursts,” Mitchell said. “They’ve become so popular that we will continue to do something like this even after COVID-19 ends.”

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