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Behind the mask

During the Allentown Art Festival earlier this month, a tall masked figure stood outside Cafe Taza on Elmwood Avenue in a black robe emblazoned with a colorful image of the Virgin Mary and a towering hat strung with beads and sprouting huge feathers. Reactions from passers-by ranged from terrified to intrigued.

That figure will be on view as part of "Masks to Set You Free," an exhibition of films, photographs and costumes relating to the Chinelos -- a traditional dance originating in Morelos, Mexico that features masked and costumed dancers. Casa de Arte, an art space launched last year by Mara Odette Guerrero-Williams and Rick Williams to create a cultural dialogue between Cuernavaca and Buffalo, will also present a variety of works from its own collection.

The exhibition opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Saturday and runs through July 16. For more information, call 218-9107.

-- Colin Dabkowski