Artist's mask-themed work to be displayed in BART trains, at pop-up event

In hopes to change the way we think about masks, BART is partnering with artist Tosha Stimage to host a mask-themed pop-up event Thursday and to feature Stimage's artwork on posters in BART trains.

According to the Berkeley-based artist, with the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are associated with disease and death, so Stimage created her project "We Been On" to motivate people to think of masks in different contexts as well as to "help them absorb the health and safety messaging behind the current mask requirements", she said. 

Thursday, Stimage is hosting a pop-up mask giveaway at the Civic Center BART station in San Francisco, where she will distribute free packets featuring artwork printed on pre-stamped postcards, face masks that can be decorated at home, and disinfecting wipes. BART will also provide free personal hand straps while supplies last.

"For the pop-up I wanted to be able to give out something physical as a proxy for conversation," Stimage said. "A lot of people have not been able to be social in the same ways they were before the pandemic. I thought art postcards could support the U.S. Postal Service and also help people to connect with others."

The pop-up event will be held in the free area on the concourse level at the entrance at Eighth and Market streets. At the event, people are required to wear face masks and practice social distancing. 

Stimage will also have art featured on posters in BART trains, showing masks from around the world, such as the Bwa sun masks of Burkina Faso in Western Africa and China's Beijing Opera masks.

"This has been such a difficult time for so many people," Stimage said. "I hope to encourage people to find ways to bring some beauty into this experience we are all navigating."

Stimage's project is produced by Smart Growth America with Forecast Public Art, and funded by the Kresge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.