LOS LUNAS — More than 185 activity kits have been distributed to families across Valencia County and have been a big hit with local children.
The Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts partnered with B&B Running Stitch in providing free children’s craft mask kits.
Since the museum is unable to have any exhibits, tours or presentations, they have been busy setting up many events online. Among these virtual offerings was a new program that sought to empower the creativity of the area youth, while aiding public health.
The Children’s Custom Coronavirus Face Mask Activity provides children an opportunity to design their own mask, free of charge. With back-to-school season and the ongoing pandemic, Jan Micaletti, the museum’s specialist, said keeping children engaged during this time is important.
“We know that children wearing masks is more important than ever,” Micaletti said. “Our new program adds an element of fun to the masks by taking a child’s artistic creation and making it into a wearable mask in which they can take pride. We know that a child is going to wear their mask regularly, and it has to be comfortable and fun.”
The museum has partnered with Berlinda Baca and Beverly Barela with B&B Running Stitching, who provided the sewing of all the masks for free. Both are from the Los Lunas area, and have made more than 3,000 masks since this COVID-19 pandemic started.
The museum is also providing a set of permanent color markers, elastic and the material for the mask for free. The mask kits are on a first-come, first-serve basis by calling the museum at 352-7720 to reserve one, and then picked up and dropped off via curbside at the museum, 251 Main St. SE, for completion.
Each participant will receive a two-sided mask — one with the children’s custom drawing and the other side a solid color. All participants are entered in a drawing to win prizes at the end of August.
“I think we may have to start a waiting list as this has been a big hit for the museum,” Micaletti said. “I get pictures daily of masks coming in and hope to get more of the kids wearing them as I have requested from the parents. I was just thrilled that this activity was well received by the parents, grandparents and the children.”
Children ranging in ages 3 to 18 years old have participated in the activity. Micaletti and staff, Rebecca Ortiz and Christy Marshall, are contemplating doing a similar activity for adults.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.