St. Mary's

The residency was presented to 125 students in grades K through 6. Students were led through the process of researching, designing and building a plaster mask based on Mexican animal masks and the symbolic meaning of animals in Mexican mask making. According to traditional belief in Mexico, every person shares a common path with an animal twin, or "Tono(a)." The animal is considered to be that person's helper, or guardian throughout their life. The person and their Tono(a) share the same strengths and character.

Teachers were provided with a pre-residency teaching packet that provided classroom instruction materials to assist in leading students through the process of selecting, researching and designing their animal masks. Students chose the animal subject of their mask by exploring what animal best symbolized their personal strengths and physical or mental characteristics. After researching the chosen animal, students created a series of drawings leading to a final draft of the actual mask design. Studends recorded their research and drawings in workbooks that were used for reference during the actual building of the mask.

The pre-residency preparation was designed to guide students and classroom teachers through a process of self-reflection and self-discovery in order to find meaning in their artwork and in the artwork of others. The resulting masks created during the one week residency were exceptional examples of that process. Each mask reflected the personality, character and inspiration of the creator.

"Great White Terror"
By Casey Schreiner, 4th grade
This animal is like me because it's strong and I'm strong. It's a good hunter, and I'm a good hunter. It's a good swimmer, and I'm a good swimmer.

"Parrot Chatter Box"
By Mary Korman
I believe my "Tona," or animal twin, is the parrot.. I am like a parrot because because I like to talk a lot. I am a chatter box! Parrots are too! Parrots like to fly, and I like to swing. Parrots like to eat, I do too!

By Danielle Cremers, 5th grade
I chose a hyena because I laugh a lot. A hyena is also one of my favorite animals. I like the hyenas off of "The Lion King"--that is how I chose my hyena that I did for my mask.

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