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Front Page » Arts & Culture » Miami City Ballet costume corps creates hospital masks

Miami City Ballet costume corps creates hospital masks

Written by on April 8, 2020
Miami City Ballet costume corps creates hospital masks


When thinking of creative ways to lift spirits of medical workers at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Miami City Ballet’s costume department rose to the challenge by creating customized protective face masks. 

As a gesture to give back to the community, costume department director Eleanor Wolfe and her inventive team of four created a functional curved dome structured mask that attaches to a headband with sewed-in buttons, all from scratch.

“It was very heartwarming for us to see nurses wearing them. I just can’t even imagine how much stress they are going through right now,” Ms. Wolfe said. “It felt amazing to contribute with anything for nurses at this point… It’s a fun craft that we are making and not serious labor, but something that is needed during this crisis.”

The washable masks are made of cotton from left-over event t-shirts. “Since we are fabric hoarders, we had plenty to work with,” she said. The ballet’s team of costume designers have created over 200 masks for medical workers at the children’s hospital. 

Ms. Wolfe said masks that loop over the ear were filing against the nurses’ raw ears and making it very uncomfortable after a 12-hour shift. The customized headband and mask eliminated that irritating discomfort. “They also fit perfectly inside the curved surgical masks, which adds another layer of filter for protection.”

Nicklaus Children’s pediatric surgeon and director of operating rooms, Chad Perlyn, said the hospital’s staff were enthusiastic and deeply touched. 

“What a wonderful way to rise the spirits of our nurses,” he said. “Every time the nurses saw me coming down the hall with a box of masks, they would literally mob me to get just one.” 

The face masks quickly became the must-have hot item throughout the halls of the hospital.

Even though Nicklaus currently has an adequate supply of personal protective gear for its staff, Mr. Perlyn said, they don’t know what is ahead during these uncertain times and wants to always be prepared when the occasion arises. 

“All of the hospitals are working together trying to assure that there are adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, but we are also welcoming of donations from folks like the Miami City Ballet,” he said. “When you get a gift made from love, it’s really a touching thing and very appreciated.”

Ms. Wolfe said the team will continue to sew and create masks, but this time for Miami City Ballet’s staff members, dancers, trustees and donors. “We even had one of the dancers donate two dozen masks to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Broward County.”

The cloth masks are very comfortable and help keep hands away from faces and hopefully, makes people feel a little more secure and safer, she said.

“Maybe what we are doing will encourage others to create face masks or something that will give back to our community in one way or another,” Ms. Wolfe said.