FeatherFest, the annual birding festival presented by Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council every April, brings a new artistic opportunity this year to area children in grades 1-8. It’s the Birdiful Faces Bird Mask Contest!

Birds have beautiful faces. They can capture the imagination with their colorful crowns, vibrant throat feathers, eye rings, eyebrow stripes, whisker marks and beaks of all shapes and sizes.

In the Bird Mask Contest, children are invited to choose a favorite bird with an interesting face and create a Birdiful mask. They may work with materials of their choice, and their bird can be real or imaginary.

Contestants are asked to give their bird a name and submit a self-photograph wearing their bird mask. Entries are accepted via email through Feb. 1. Complete information about the Birdiful Faces Bird Mask Contest can be found at galvestonfeatherfest.com under Festival Details and Scholarships.

Bird masks will be judged in two categories — grades 1-4 and grades 5-8. Twenty-five finalists will be selected to display their masks at FeatherFest 2019, April 11-14. The Birdiful Faces art exhibit will be open to the public during FeatherFest so finalists can invite their friends and families to see their work.

Of the finalists, the Top 10 will receive free admission (plus one adult admission each) to attend the FledglingFest Birds & Dolphins by Boat Field Trip on April 13.

What a wonderful way to celebrate spring bird migration in Galveston with your family, youth organization and friends! Create your bird mask and join the fun. There’s no limit to the types of materials that can be used for a mask. Something as simple as a paper plate works as a base for a bird face. Recycled materials are another source with mask-making possibilities.

Each year Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council awards scholarships for FledglingFest, a special part of FeatherFest, with activities for children ages 6 and older. The annual art contest has been the avenue to get out the word about these scholarships. Posters and fliers have been distributed to local schools, youth organizations, homeschool groups, art galleries, children’s museum and other businesses who support children and the arts. Several organizations, including the Galveston Art League and Galveston’s Own Farmers Market, have presented bird mask-making workshops to inspire and encourage participation in the project.

Suzanne Becker is a volunteer with the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.

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