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2277 Highway 36 West, Suite 200 Roseville, MN 55113-3830
Phone: 612-378-2742
Toll Free: 1-800-669-6442
Fax: 612-378-2789
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Unmasking Brain Injury

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month and this year we're encouraging our followers to #BeTheAwareness by sharing their brain injury experience in their own communities. During Brain Injury Awareness Month, we will be bringing our Unmasking display to several sites around Minnesota, including an exhibit in the Crystal Court of the IDS Center. Stay tuned to this page, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on where and when you can visit these displays.

Few people understand the personal impact brain injury can have. Its effects often are subtle and difficult to express. In March of 2016, the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance began the Unmasking Brain Injury in Minnesota project - a statewide community-based art project that enlisted the participation of over a thousand individuals living with the effects of brain injury. Unmasking allowed individuals affected by brain injury to design masks that communicate their unique perspectives and altered outlooks. It gave survivors and caregivers a voice to illuminate their life with a brain injury; to show others that persons living with a disability due to brain injury are deserving of respect, compassion and the same opportunities afforded all citizens in their respective communities.

Behind each mask is a person that's been touched by brain injury as a survivor, parent, sibling, friend, neighbor, co-worker, or professional. Individual stories of Minnesotans with brain injury were highlighted along with their masks. Over the course of the project, the Alliance hosted numerous mask-making events across the state and in our Roseville offices. Group homes, support groups and community organizations held their own events while prominent Minnesotans – like playwright and storyteller Kevin Kling and NHL Defenseman and former Minnesota Wild player, Jordan Leopold – also got onboard to make their own masks.

Local filmmaker Jed Schelgelmilch documented the project in his film Unmasking which took home the Merit Award at the 2016 Awareness Film Festival at Regal Cinemas La Live Stadium. Jed's film was shown at numerous Unmasking events throughout the year. The year-long effort culminated during Brain Injury Awareness Month of 2017, with a full exhibit of over 1,000 masks at the Earle Brown Heritage Center.

Many participants in Unmasking Brain Injury in Minnesota discovered the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance through their mask-making. We've shared the stories of several of these individuals in our Mind Matters magazine including those of Amber Rose Kordiak, Taylor Worley and Scotti Sterling. Each participant who spoke about the benefits of finally being able to express to those around them the feelings they’d been forced to keep buried deep in their hearts.

Unmasking Brain Injury in Minnesota's success can be counted in the sheer number of masks produced. But, more importantly, it can be counted in the outpouring of emotion and support at each event. In the faces of the family members finally understanding a little bit more of their loved ones' experiences. And in the forging of a greater and more unified brain injury community.

The original Unmasking Brain Injury began as a public awareness project of Hinds' Feet Farm, in association with the Brain Injury Association of North Carolina. Now, we've brought it to Minnesota to give it a uniquely Midwestern spin.