Redwood Curtain welcomes Freshwater School’s Egyptian Mask Project to the theatre gallery for the months of February and March. Freshwater teacher Kylah Rush immerses her sixth-grade class in an ancient Egypt unit for the month of January. The students learn science, history, art, writing and even math through the lens of the ancient Egyptians. The unit culminates in the students mummifying chickens and making personalized death shroud masks in the style of the ancient mummified pharaohs. The masks will be on display in the Redwood Curtain Theatre Lobby Gallery.
Rush started teaching her ancient Egypt unit more than eight years ago. “I find project based learning is really powerful,” states Rush. “While not everything appeals to every student, there will be a component of the full immersion curriculum that appeals to each student. It’s really rewarding to see students who otherwise struggle, really come into their own as they connect with a particular component of the unit.”
The component that will be on display in the theatre gallery is the mask project. Students work in pairs to cover each other’s faces with plaster strips, then wait with their partner while the plaster hardens enough to form a mask. The students then embellish and decorate the masks with traditional elements of a shroud mask, including gold paint, jewels, beards and hair. In some cases, the masks don’t; cooperate and they fall apart. The students learn how to repair or adjust things.
In addition to learning patience with working through a multi-day project and teamwork to ensure each child has a mask, the students learn how to use tools. Exacto knives, hot glue guns and other things might not be the first things we entrust to a young person, but Rush educates them how to use the tools safely and effectively to complete the mask projects.
The show at Redwood Curtain theatre exhibits a mask from every sixth grade student. The public is invited to the opening night reception for the art show on February 2nd, which occurs in conjunction with Eureka’s February Arts Alive! festivities.
The Redwood Curtain theatre and gallery are located at 220 1st Street, Eureka. The sixth grader’s death masks will be on display in the gallery through the upcoming theatrical production of Everybody which opens on February 21 and runs through March 16. For additional information about Arts Alive at Redwood Curtain Theatre, the art show or the upcoming theatre production visit www.redwoodcurtain.com or call the theatre at 707-443-7688.