The Mask Project was founded in 1998 by The Denver Hospice and the Cherry Creek Shopping Center. The goal was to capture the imagination of Coloradans with a unique, interactive fundraiser.

And—18 years and 10 exhibitions later—that creative vision is as vibrant as ever.

Over the years, the community event has gained international attention, garnering masks by nationally-renowned artists, celebrities, sports figures, political and community leaders. It has raised nearly $4.5 million for hospice care in Colorado.

The highest bid ever received for a mask was in 2006, when Steve Chotin’s mask titled Helpful = Joyful Heart, sold during a festive round of bidding for $141,000. Calls to the live auction came in from Tel Aviv, Australia, Los Angeles and New York as associates of Steve and Robin Chotin and The Chotin Group bid on a mask by Denver artist Charles Wooldridge.

In 2014, more than a million people visited the Cherry Creek Shopping Center during the month-long exhibit of the gallery of masks. The online gallery drew thousands of hits over four weeks of online bidding.

There’s every expectation that the 2016 event will prove equally rewarding and exciting.