The Mask Project, The Denver Hospice, East Denver LIVING WELL Magazine
The Mask Project, a collection of handcrafted masks by celebrities, sports figures, artists, musicians and community leaders, runs April 18 through May 13 in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
A benefit for The Denver Hospice, The Mask Project was founded in 1998 by Mickey Ackerman, vice chairman of The Denver Hospice board of directors, and has grown into a national event. Over the years, the biennial event has raised more than $4 million for hospice care in the Denver metro area. In 2010, The Mask Project was viewed by over one million people who visited the Cherry Creek Shopping Center during the month-long exhibit of the gallery of masks. The online gallery drew thousands of hits over four weeks of online bidding.
The 500+ masks are on display in the shopping center’s center court and can be viewed during regular business hours.
“The Mask Project is truly a community event as people from all over come together to create masks or secure masks from celebrities, chefs, sports figures and people they know from across the country,” says Bev Sloan, CEO of The Denver Hospice. “It is always exciting when the masks start arriving and we get to see the latest collection.”
Masks are sold online at www.themaskproject.org where the bidding opens April 14 and closes May 13. Many mask donors include gift certificates, trips or other premiums with their masks.
“Artists from across the country are very generous in sharing their talents through The Mask Project, while others generously add premiums to their masks to add even greater value,” says Sloan.
The Mask Project broke a record in 2006 when Steve Chotin’s mask titled, “Helpful = Joyful Heart,” sold during a festive round of bidding for $141,000. Calls to the live auction came in from Tel Aviv, Australia, Los Angeles and New York as associates of Steve and Robin Chotin and The Chotin Group bid on a mask by Denver artist Charles Wooldridge.
“All of us, at one time or another, are faced with the impending death of a loved one. To know there are programs like The Denver Hospice that provide comfort and support to individuals and families during a most difficult time provides great solace,” says Chotin, whose masks have raised a total of $260,000 since 2002. “I’m honored that many friends and business associates chose to give again to support such a worthy and deserving cause.”
The 2012 Mask Project has drawn masks from entertainers such as Paul Simon, Lady Antebellum, Harry Belefonte, Joe Cocker, Stephen Stills, Henry Winkler, Louis Gosset Jr., Elliott Gould, Celine Dion, Patti LaBelle, Keb Mo, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, as well as sports figures such as John Elway, Tim Tebow and members of the Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rockies.
The Mask Project culminates with a party on May 12 when 1,200 supporters of The Denver Hospice gather in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which is transformed into a nightclub atmosphere and called “Club Mask.” Bars and food stations, all with a different theme, will dot the mall, which will feature dance music and other entertainment.
The Mask Project proceeds benefit The Denver Hospice, which is Colorado’s largest hospice with 800 patients in its care each day. In fiscal year 2010, The Denver Hospice spent $1.3 million on patient care and services over and above what insurance, Medicare and Medicaid paid. As a leading non-profit serving a nine-county area, The Denver Hospice never turns anyone away for lack of ability to pay.