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Wear NMWA’s Scarlett Baily face masks
The National Museum of Women in the Arts has hopped on the worldwide bandwagon of commissioning artsy face masks to be worn inside (and outside) its galleries. It’s a move both astute and bittersweet, but such is the world we live in. The NMWA did, however, give people a reason to smile (though under the mask, you might not be able to tell) in tapping Chicana artist Scarlett Baily and her whimsical yet gloriously enraged style for the gig. Baily’s masks come in two designs highlighting trailblazers past and present: “Pioneers and Protest” honors women like Gladys Bentley and Audre Lorde alongside protesters who fight for racial justice in the Black Lives Matter movement. “Mujeres Muralistas” celebrates five female Mexican muralists, including Elena Huerta Múzquiz and Aurora Reyes Flores, echoing NMWA’s #5WomenArtists campaign, which asks us to count women artists on our fingers (much easier to do if they’re right under our noses). Both masks are exquisitely detailed, so you can admire the inky squiggles whether you’re checking your reflection in the window during your daily constitutional or admiring the masks online while trying to beat the quarantine summer heat. Are they objects or art? Fashion or politics? Safety measures or moral statements? Either way, they just might reveal something deeper about ourselves and our communities which, as Baily suggests, is why we keep creating. The masks can be found at nmwa.org. $16.—Emma Francois
School is back in session and the stage is alive once more—at least virtually. But for the newest cohort of actors and actresses at American University, this semblance of normalcy comes at a time of ultimate chaos. These incoming theater students are not only adjusting to college life amid a pandemic, but are also learning to navigate the world as adults. What better way to process and reflect than through performance? Enter Overture: 200222020. This ensemble-driven show from American University seeks to do just that. As the academic year—and their college journeys—kicked off, a group of “diverse” and “dynamic” incoming students wrote Overture: 200222020 to share what it is like to come of age in 2020. They have prepared songs, poems, monologues, and movement pieces about their own experiences. Aaron Posner, an associate performing arts professor at AU and the former artistic director at the Arden Theatre and Two River Theatre, says the show is truly a mosaic. Some students will share their own stories; others will share stories from new friends. The end result will weave together coming-of-age narratives perfect for the digital world. Whether you are struggling to understand Generation Z or you simply want to enjoy an evening of performance, Overture: 200222020 promises a blend of entertainment and exploration. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 25. Registration is available on Facebook. $5. —Sarah Smith