TARA CARIASO, mask artist
Founder of MASKS FOR GOOD and Baltimore Washington region mask company, Waxing Moon Masks, Tara is a passionate advocate of Mask and has been making masks for training and performance since 2011. She is a performer and educator who trained at the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre and the University of MD Baltimore County. Companies she has worked with include Faction of Fools of DC, Ambassador Theatre Cultural Center of DC, Chesapeake Shakespeare of Baltimore and The Strand Theatre of Baltimore.
"I created MASKS FOR GOOD as a way to merge two areas of theatre creation of which I am really passionate: social justice and mask. Mask performance frees the actor as a participant in the theatrical event. Social justice frees the actor to be a participant in the conversation about their community and the greater world. I've seen so many plays made by young actors that were heartfelt and discussed very serious issues, but they didn't provide the actor with an experience of the fun of performing. I think an audience responds quickly to performances that embody the spirit of joy and play we often lack in our daily lives. My goal is to find the way to use mask to inject that fun into plays that voice honest needs in order to hasten that those needs to be met."
B4 YOUTH THEATRE and
B4 Youth Theatre was founded in 2010 in Liberia, West Africa with a mission of empowering young people to become educated citizens through the arts. B4YT helps children develop a vision for a better world through and attain the education to realize their vision. The organization has been doing community education on Ebola prevention since June of 2014 in Liberia. Performing on stage gives children a way to voice their concerns to community stakeholders to build awareness of and provide possible solutions to societal ills identified by the children using our unique community organizing arts model. Since 2010, B4YT has served more than 300 children and trained 15 Liberian young adults as Arts Instructors across four counties in Liberia: Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Bong. B4YT plans on expanding to provide curriculum development, teacher training and sustainability plans for schools in at least ten of Liberia’s 15 counties by 2020. It all starts with children having a chance to imagine something different.
Executive Director of B4 Youth, Jasmine Blanks, is an accomplished musician, educator, and passionate advocate of arts education in Liberia, Ghana, and the US. Her unique and highly effective play creation process has enabled hundreds of Liberian children a chance to voice their needs and improve their communities. Under her sincere and fearless guidance, the non-profit continues to improve their visibility in Liberia, improve the offerings given without charge to the students in their programs year-long, and move Liberia's youth into the global conversation about Ebola and Stigma. It was Blanks interest in mask performance and Cariaso's work that laid the groundwork for MASKS FOR GOOD.
B4 Youth Theatre Makes a Difference: In 2010 Liberian public school was free up to grade 7. Later that year, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to see B4 Youth Theatre's inaugural performance, "Problems to Solve", which dealt heavily with access to education. The next year, free and public school was extended through grade 9 as compulsory for all Liberian children.
In the Summer of 2015, B4 Youth integrated mask performance into the playwriting work of all four current training sites in Liberia in order to help the students tell the story of Ebola and Stigma in their lives and communities, "Fight the Stigma!"
Learn more about their wonderful work by visiting www.b4youththeatre.org/ge.
David is a professional video editor of educational materials at Johns Hopkins.
David's work with Masks For Good began early in 2014, in the design phase for the first set of masks that traveled to Liberian youth. In fact he designed one of the masks in the set! With a background in technical theatre, improvisational theatre and mask work, David's expertise is uniquely fit to creating theatre educational videos. In addition to his many merits as a professional editor and theatre scholar, he maintains active in various capacities working with Waxing Moon Masks. David and Tara have been collaborating on mask pedagogy and independent mask projects for 2 years.
A project coordinator in Wireless Communications Nexius Solutions Incorporated, and partner of Waxing Moon Masks, Aaron Elson is committed to making the world a better place one project at a time. Graduate of the Smith Business School, Aaron is a passionate entrepreneur.
Aaron's work with MFG has had a massive impact and is far reaching. His expertise in finances continues to guide the project's budget. His skill in project management and logistics continues to serve the project as we negotiate communications with four Liberian youth training sites from Baltimore, MD. His knowledge of renewable power sources and their practical applications with our equipment will cut costs and provide our Liberian counterparts with solar powered tablets. And in the end, his mechanical engineering as part of the Waxing Moon Mask company will secure the masks to youth faces.
FELLS POINT CORNER THEATRE
Fells Point Corner Theatre is a fully nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that serves the Fells Point Baltimore community. They have existed for the past 27 years through the hard work and dedication of volunteers, and the generous support of our many donors.
Fells Point Corner Theatre has been collaborating with MASKS FOR GOOD since the beginning, generously providing a space for our initial workshop to B4YT instructors in 2014, and then later that year, providing a nurturing home for the filming of training videos. In 2015, Tara and the MFG project hope to use the theatre's facilities to host the final stage of the project, Baltimore Enrichment, including a pressentation/lecture, a public workshop, and a staged reading.
Visit their website to learn more about FPCT's great work: http://www.fpct.org/