A group of Minneapolis artists has organized Giving Mask, a curated face mask collection that generates donations to Feeding America.

By Ginger Crichton
July 02, 2020
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Minneapolis artists and makers Gene Bird, Rebecca Yaker and Amy Wyland are partnering with local and international artists on a project called Giving Mask, “the first artist-curated, artist-designed, face mask collection available to date that will raise funds directly for Feeding America.”

Here’s how it works: Choose a limited-edition Giving Mask from Rebecca Yaker's website and pay $5 to reserve the mask and cover shipping expenses. Then donate at least $50 per mask directly to Feeding America. Within 24 hours, reply to your mask order confirmation with a receipt showing the Feeding America donation, and your Giving Mask will be shipped to you.  Each $50 donation covers about 500 meals.

The effort has so far generated $2,400 for Feeding America, or 24,000 meals. The founders hope to reach many more people with their unique masks.

“In mid-March, we saw a study of the positive effects of mandatory mask wearing in the Czech Republic, which significantly helped slow the transmission of COVID-19,” said Rebecca Yaker. “That study was a turning point for good friend Amy Wyland and I, as we became certifiable mask geeks—devoting all our time and energy to making different styles of masks to determine the best fit, feel, size, function, etc. We developed our own favorite mask pattern and created three free mask-making PDF tutorials, available on my website.

“In April, we conceptualized Giving Mask with my husband Gene Bird. As an artist, Gene used his connections to reach out to the arts community and received many submissions for the limited-edition masks. As a team, Gene, Amy, and I funded the project, and handmade the masks in the Giving Mask collection.” Giving Mask officially launched in late May.

The washable masks have digitally printed artwork on cotton fabric, and feature a filter pocket and a channel for a nose wire. Each mask is available in limited quantities, and a few designs are already sold out.

The creators that Bird, Yaker and Wyland have partnered with include Minnesota photographer Alec Soth, New York artist Mike Perry, Minnesota painter and printmaker Carolyn Swiszcz, and Minnesota fine artist Jane Nicolo.

Feeding America, a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries, works to provide food to millions of people across the U.S. According to the group, because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity this year, including 18 million children.