Twelve-year-old Phoebe Hopp’s wide eyes stared hauntingly out at her grandmother from the self-portrait she’d drawn in art class. Lydia Hopps couldn’t see her granddaughter’s expression. Most of her face was covered by a mask, which she and other students had worn to prevent spread of COVID-19 during the class at Vita Art Center.
Thus began an ambitious community art project at Vita Arts Center called “Through Our Eyes,” organized by the center’s founding director, Mary Perez. The project involves a series of free art workshops for children ages 8 to 18, led by professional artists. Instructors guide students to create a self-portrait of themselves wearing a face mask.
Workshops at Vita Arts Center are already underway, and the center plans to hold several more through the end of the year. An on-site and online exhibit of 100 self-portraits is planned for June. The center will also create a printed catalog of the portraits that will be available to the public.
So far, Perez has enough funding to provide workshops for 100 students. She hopes to secure enough funding to offer workshops to a total of 500 children and teens.
Parents can sign their children up for the workshops online, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Perez is also reaching out to local schools to discuss hosting workshops for their students.
To sign up for a workshop or to donate to the Through Our Eyes Community Art Project and Exhibit, visit www.VitaArtCenter.com Workshop spaces are limited and pre-registration is a must. Vita Art Center is located at 28 W. Main St.