We taught special effects makeup techniques to teens as part of a superhero-themed summer reading program, allowing the teens to transform themselves into superheroes and villains.
The workshop, conceived by staff member Nancy Matos, was planned six months in advance and inspired by Florida’s Summer Reading Program teen theme “Unmask!” and by the television show “Faceoff." The overarching theme for summer reading — superheroes — has lent itself to planning these workshops. We contacted makeup artist Adrienne Tabet from House of Makeup Artistry and discussed a program that would show teens various examples of heroes and villains. The idea evolved from a lecture and demonstration to a hands-on workshop in which the teens would have the opportunity to use basic makeup to create their own looks.
After speaking with the artist, my supervisor, and the library system’s programming department, I was given the approval to create a format for the workshop at the Miami Lakes Library and other libraries in the system. Some of the challenges included: finding libraries with the appropriate audience and space to accommodate this workshop; in some cases, funding; and the unexpected pressure of local news coverage (which was a positive, though it provided a stress factor to a program that had not been tested).
The workshop was marketed via a monthly, systemwide brochure that highlights events and through posters and fliers at the branch hosting the program. At the branch level, word-of-mouth advertising was a tremendous help.
The Miami Lakes Branch of the Miami Dade Public Library System benefits from additional funding for programs, provided by the Town of Miami Lakes Educational Advisory Board. The grant allows the branch more flexibility to offer new, cutting-edge programs that may be more difficult to attain with traditional funding. The initial cost included the artist fee and the purchase of supplies. The workshops will continue throughout the summer at various library locations with a minimal cost of the artist fee.
We set up a table with a laptop and projector for the artist to use during the lecture part of the presentation. For the participants, we set up chairs and six tables facing the presenter, allowing them to have a surface to work from while they applied their makeup. There was an additional table used to display books related to the program, evaluation and photo release forms, and other programming collateral.
Three staff assisted with the room set-up and stayed with the performer and participants for the duration of the program. Present at the event was a representative from the Town of Miami Lakes Educational Advisory Board, who awards us an annual programming grant, as well as a reporter and photographer from The Miami Herald . The setup took 30 minutes, and the program ran for 90 minutes.
When we got started, the artist briefly demonstrated various special effect makeup techniques and showed examples of her work. She demonstrated techniques on different participants before handing out makeup for the teens to transform themselves into heroes. She took questions throughout the program and walked around to the various tables to assist the teens. Some of the teens were reluctant to start, but became more enthusiastic as the program progressed. Thirty-five participants attended, and all offered their praises.The entire program was incredibly hands-on and creative!
Don’t be discouraged if the first, or even second, potential presenter does not respond to you. House of Makeup Artistry was the second school that we approached with this idea. Give yourself enough time to plan and coordinate any project, especially one that library patrons have never seen. When negotiating with new presenters, it is of upmost importance to communicate clearly about your budget, the audience at hand, space, and the availability of equipment and supplies at the program location. This workshop was aimed at teenagers, but could be a great adult or children’s program workshop as well.
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The Miami Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, serves as a community center and learning place where the Miami Dade community meets to exchange ideas, learn, share and create. The library strives to ensure that all residents, regardless of socioeconomics, will be enriched through access to materials, technology, art and culture, and programs so that they may develop the skills they need to create and produce innovations for the 21st century. Through its 48 locations, bookmobiles, special services, website (www.mdpls.org ) and MDPLS iLibrary app, the library proudly serves more than 7 million annual visitors.