Kathy Cunningham

Jazz M.A.S.K.

Watercolor on Pre-Formed Ceramic

9" x 6.75" x 1"



maskThe blank mask given to me for this project was signed by Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Kurt Elling (shown in photo at right).

Besides my visual work creating and teaching painting and sculpture, I have taught and performed both music and pastoral studies.  These are two areas of interest which Kurt and I share. 

After viewing some of his performances on YouTube, I sought to create a mysterious and subtle effect on the anonymous ceramic face. 

There are multiple layers of transparent watercolor which were inspired by the intricate harmonies and shadings in the music made by the instrumentalists and Kurt's vocals.




M.A.S.K. Project Goals

The  M.A.S.K. Project is a year-long venture from April 2012 to April 2013, designed to:

First: Provide children with an interactive visual arts opportunity to make masks of their imaginary “Fantastic Creatures,” in the Children’s Imagination Art Project,  both in the Museum’s Art Studio workshops and in outreach programs with the DCM’s school and community service partners.

Second:  Raise public awareness of the importance of integrating the Arts into Math and Science curriculums in light of many recent budget cuts to Arts programs.

Third: Raise funds to continue the mission of the DuPage Children’s Museum as a Force for Early Learning for all children in our community.  This goal of the M.A.S.K. Program happens in two components, separate from the Children’s Imagination Art Project.

    1.  The 100 Masks Celebrity & Artist Online Auction. The Museum has been honored by an incredibly wide array of national celebrities who have autographed beautiful bisque masks.  Nearly 100 professional artists have volunteered their talent to design them into fabulous works of art.  We invite you to view them and bid online from March 1-April 13, 2013.

    2.  The M.A.S.K. Project Benefit Ball, Saturday, April 13, 2013, where both the Celebrity/Artists’ masks and the Children’s Imagination Art Project masks will be on display at this gala event.

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Auction Overview & Preview


From March 1 to April 13, 2013 the “100 Artist & Celebrity Mask Auction” will be live online to raise funds to continue the Early Learning educational mission of the DuPage Children’s Museum in Naperville, IL.

An incredibly wide array of national newsmakers has honored the Museum by autographing beautiful clay masks that were then designed by a network of professional artists throughout Chicagoland.  The white bisque masks were sculpted by Lisa Harris of Chicago’s famous Lill St. Art Center.

The celebrity autographs span Oscar and Emmy winners; sports icons from tennis, golf, football, baseball and Olympic skating; top recording artists from pop, rock, classical and country; Broadway theater icons; national news commentators; culinary personalities, government and political leaders, an internationally known poet,  a prima ballerina, an astronaut, a magician, a fashion designer, an author, and children’s favorite entertainers, among others.

Nearly 100 professional artists from in the Chicago art community have also honored the Museum by volunteering their talent to design these celebrity-autographed masks for the online auction.

The online auction will open on March 1, 2013 and end at 9 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2013, the night of the “M.A.S.K. Project Benefit Ball,” to benefit the DuPage Children’s Museum. The event will be attended by 325 guests at the Marriott Chicago Naperville, located at Naper Blvd. and  I-88 in Naperville, IL.

Kathy Cunningham is a Chicago artist and teacher working in the city and the suburbs.  Originally from Texas, she holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BME (music education) from West Texas State University, and an MPS (pastoral studies) from Loyola University Chicago.

To view Kathy's work, go to www.kathycunningham.com.