Personality Mask Project Ideas

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

The following project ideas are intended to help you guide your students through conversations on personality, using masks as forms of artistic expression and reflection.

Masks and Personality

Masks are intriguing aspects of art, ceremony, and theatre found in nearly every culture. On one hand, they physically obscure a person's face. On the other, they are often seen as revealing greater truths. This can make masks a great tool for asking students to examine concepts of identity, personality, and the self. The following project ideas are designed to be adaptable to most grade levels, as well as the artistic skill, time, and resources of your class. There is no single way to physically create any of these masks, so anything from painting on paper plates to modeling with papier-mache will work.

Identity Mask Project Ideas

Elements of Identity

Identity is a complex thing, and everyone's identity is composed of multiple facets. Some aspects of your identity are more important in certain scenarios, so in a sense we are all constantly choosing which mask to wear based on the social, cultural, and personal context. Students will reflect on this by free journaling, with the ultimate goal of determining five distinct facets of their identity. Each student will then create five masks, one that represents that specific part of who they are.

  • Materials: Writing supplies, art and craft supplies as desired

Ancestry Mask

For many people, their ancestry is an important component of their identity and personality. Luckily, nearly every culture in the world has had some form of mask art. Students will start by researching the mask traditions of one of the cultures from which they claim ancestry, and will write a report on the aesthetics, styles, uses, and cultural significance of masks in that tradition. Using this knowledge, students will finally design and create a mask in that style that represents their personality and identity. You can encourage students to go as traditional as possible in their mask design, or to make this a modernized interpretation as a reflection of how ancestry impacts modern identity.

  • Materials: Research supplies, writing supplies, art and craft supplies as desired

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