Calling all mask-makers, artists, and costumers!

Inspired by concern both for the pandemic’s impact on local artists and for what he sees as a lackadaisical approach to mask-wearing, St. Pete resident and Brussels-transplant Andre Kupfermunz decided to take matters into his own hands and launch Mask-R-Aid, an exhibit and eventual auction to promote the new mask “chic,” local artists and raise funds for the St. Pete Arts Alliance. 

“The first people that will be professionally debilitated by the pandemic are the artists. Buying art today for the majority of people on this planet is really, really on the back burner,” said Kupfermunz. “St. Petersburg is a hub for artistic talent and many of the artists are financially suffering. Mask-R-Aid aims to offset some of the burden by raising money for the St. Pete Arts Alliance Relief Fund.” 

Submissions are open to the public: artists, costumers, and sewers of any level -- including children -- are welcomed to submit their masks by July 30th. The masks will be on display August 1-14 at the popular design boutique, Zazoo’d, on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg.  

At the conclusion of the exhibit, all masks will be auctioned at Bay Area Auction in Pinellas Park to raise money for the St. Pete Arts Alliance Relief Fund. The live and online auction will take place at 10 a.m. (8 a.m. preview) August 15th at Bay Area Auction located at 8010 U.S. Highway 19 N., Pinellas Park. 

So far, entries are diverse and range from a playful design submitted by an 8-year old girl to an intricately sequined sea-themed mask complete with real seaweed ties, among others. Kupfermunz encourages all who are inspired to submit their masks and to share the information on social media. 

For more information or to submit a mask donation, please contact Andre Kupfermunz at 813-598-7254.

Read more articles by Kendra Langlie.

Kendra Langlie is a freelance writer and communications consultant for regional and global businesses. Though she has always been passionate about arts and culture, she spent many years in the tech and B2B corporate worlds both in the U.S. and abroad. With a degree in Economics and International Relations from The American University in Washington, DC, she considers politics her favorite sport and follows it avidly with as much humor as she can muster. Based in the Carrollwood neighborhood of Tampa, Kendra is a mother and wife, a news junkie, and lover of all things creative.