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NCMA Student-designed Mask Contest (Story)

Template for mask contest

As schools end another semester living in a pandemic, we reflect on the role face masks play in slowing the spread of the virus. Wearing a mask demonstrates respect for others. Wearing a mask can also offer an opportunity to show originality, style, and interests. 

The North Carolina Museum of Art invites students 13 years and older to submit original designs for a special limited edition of COVID-19 face masks. Students are challenged to visualize hope through a 5×7 inch face mask design. These masks will be given to educators at spring Teacher Tuesdays and to the winning school. Entries can be submitted through the google form below anytime between now and the deadline of January 1, 2021.

Finding Inspiration: Visualizing Hope

How do you visualize hope? Use these activities to find inspiration for your original design.

  • Spend one minute brainstorming ideas as a stream of consciousness. Once you’ve set a timer, write non-stop every word that comes to your head when you think of hope. After your minute, review your list and circle the most interesting ideas that you could illustrate.
  • Without using words, sketch 3-5 quick thumbnail sketches. You may want to ask someone in your home or class which design seems the most hopeful. 
  • Use any art materials and scan an image or create it digital from the beginning. The design can be a repeating pattern, symmetrical, or asymmetrical. 
  • Learn how to create a repeating fabric design through this lesson plan inspired by Frank Stella’s Raqqa II on the left sidebar. 
  • Explore resources on the left sidebar to find inspiration from NCMA’s Collection on the left sidebar. If you are able to visit in-person, explore the collection as well as the temporary exhibition Reflections on Light. For details about visiting the Museum, visit this web-page.  


  • Represent “hope” without using any words.
  • Design must be 5×7 inches. You may want to use this handout as reference. 
  • JPEG or BItmap of resolution higher than 300 

Questions? Email Michelle Harrell at

Submit your original face mask design by Jan. 1!