Back in October when I surveyed my tweens and teens with the question “If we could have any type of program in the world, what would you want to do?”, in some form or another the words Comic Con and Cosplay came up. So, when we received a grant for teen programming, I had a general direction of where to look.
With funds in hand, I did some research and stumbled upon Behind the Mask Studio; a puppetry, mask and costume workshop working out of a neighboring town that had Cosplay experience We agreed to a springtime workshop, and this past weekend, it finally happened! In order to keep cost down and attention focused, I kept the program numbers small- 8 students in grades 6-10 spent 3 hours of their Saturday morning transforming plain plastic masks into this intricate and amazing creations. Each participant was charged with bringing an image for inspiration, and were also encouraged to check out our graphic novel section for inspiration. Eric, the mastermind behind the workshop, spent time with the group showing them how they could use things such as paint, papier-mâché, and tin foil to transform their masks into pieces. After 3 hours, these simple masks had been turned into intricate designs, such as Killmonger’s Helmet, a Kabuki-inspired mask, and a mask inspired by the graphic novel Capture Creature.
The Friends of the North End Branch Library were generous enough to donate 4 tickets to Boston’s FanExpo Comic Con in August, so four lucky participants walked away with not only a mask, but the opportunity to create enter their creation in a Cosplay Contest!
What I liked about this program the most, was that it engaged my teens and tweens in a different way. While all of the participants happened to be in my book club, they had never had the opportunity to see the Library in this light- as a place to be creative and explore, a place to try new things. My hope is that this will continue to bring them back to the Library, and maybe introduce them to an artistic side they never knew they had.