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Who Is That Person Behind the Mask? It Could Be You

October 31, 1987|ANNE Z. COOKE

Gasp! Halloween has arrived, you promised the gang you'd go trick-or-treating with them tonight but you still haven't found a disguise that's really you.

Not to worry that the curse of the mummy may strike, however, for a solution awaits.

This afternoon in Hancock Park, from noon to 3, Janet Marcus and a crew of volunteers from the Craft and Folk Art Museum on Wilshire Boulevard present their annual tribute to Halloween, "Mask Making in the Park."

"What I like most about this event," says Marcus, education curator at the museum, "is that it's aimed at all ages. You can bring your grandmother, your neighbor or your friend and spend an afternoon being creative. In fact, half the people are adults."

Marcus and her volunteers bring boxes of "recycled" construction materials they've collected during the year and set them up on six tables under the big oak tree near the west fence of the Page Museum.

Families, couples, even Brownie Troops show up on a drop-in basis, spreading out blankets on the lawn, selecting supplies and working in groups. Marcus provides some pre-formed, Lone Ranger-style eye masks which you can decorate, but she says that most folks prefer to work from scratch.

Volunteers Offer Ideas

For most would-be artists, creative spirits are on the ascendancy, but should they wane, the museum volunteers help out, moving from one group to another, offering ideas, getting people started and demonstrating construction techniques.

Although we usually imagine a mask as little more than a face-shaped, paper cutout with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth, for Marcus, a mask is no child's plaything but a cultural art form with endless variations and meanings.

"For centuries, masks have been made and used all over the world by many cultures," she said, "in theater and dance, for festivals, celebrations and rituals." Thus it's not surprising that mask making comes so naturally to both children and adults.

"It's amazing what people can create from recycled materials. The forms and textures provoke your imagination. That crinkly silvery stuff, for example, speaks for itself, suggesting a special use. We've got glitter, feathers, Mylar, construction paper, colored telephone wire, fabric, buttons, ribbons and paper cups, felt and netting."

The Craft and Folk Art Museum provides materials and glue, but if you have your own odds and ends peeking out from the back of your closet, begging to be used, bring them along.

Hancock Park is between Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street, and La Brea and Fairfax. Signs for the mask making have been posted in the area. Parking is available in the museum lot and on 6th Street. There is no charge. Information: (213) 934-3082.

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