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What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Self portrait art project needs your face

Donna Lenz Wright/The Week

(Published May 5, 2007, 9:38 a.m.)

What is silly, serious, colorful, monotone, messy and neat all at the same time?

It's the Whitewater Be a Face community art project, a wonderfully simple idea that has come to life on the wall of the Double Dip Deli in Whitewater. To date, about 400 faces make up what may become the largest postcard paper mural in history.

Participants create self-portraits of themselves with just one rule-it has to be on a postcard provided by the Whitewater Arts Alliance (WAA).

"You can draw any kind of face, as long as it's yours," said Dawn Hunter, of the WAA. "We're looking for people that are creative and do something different and unusual.

"Some people have taken photos and distorted them using a computer. We're trying to find that element of the community that is creative and can come up with something that is unusual."

So far that's exactly what they've gotten. One face has a Picasso abstract look while the one next to it is a simple pencil-drawn and very realistic face and the next one over it full of color and squiggly lines making up the face.

Those artsy folks in the WAA are some smart cookies. A project of this nature-face after face after face-could conceivably have turned out monotonous, but the complete opposite has occurred.

"Every one is different," Hunter explains. Sure their faces are different, but their artistic habits and skills make them even more different.

WAA plans to add faces throughout the summer, possibly making it the largest public arts project of its kind in the world.

"We've been in touch with the Guinness World Record people to see if they are interested."

WAA plans to have it as a traveling exhibit through the summer, increasing its exposure and hopefully participation.

The final display location has not been determined simply because WAA needs to wait and see how big it becomes and where it will fit.

"We're kind of working without a net or plan on this to keep it flexible," Hunter said.

Participants don't have to live in or near Whitewater and may pick up blank postcards at any Whitewater bank or at the Double Dip Deli, 180 W. Main St., Whitewater. For more information, visit www.whitewaterarts.com or call Hunter at 473-2730.



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