Real Art Ways Cinema Coordinator Ian Ally-Seals has initiated a way to help with the COVID-19 crisis. Ian, who also teaches at Thomas Edison Middle School in Meriden, is using 3D printers from the school and space donated by Real Art Ways to 3D-print mask connectors for medical professionals. Real Art Ways has donated the use of its gallery and lobby, turning them into a production space.

The mask connectors help to alleviate pain and pressure on the faces of medical staff as they wear goggles and masks for hours at a time while treating patients. The connector was designed by Quinn Callander a boy scout from Canada. Quinn has publicly shared the file, which is now being utilized worldwide.

Ian says he first thought of the project by “wanting to use my time in a way that is helpful.” He started 3D printing on April 7 and has been able to print 70 to 100 surgical mask connectors a day.

“When we started doing this, I had imagined printing something sexier, like ventilators. What’s interesting though, is as awareness is getting out, requests for these connectors keep pouring in. Medical staff are reaching out saying, ‘Please can we have these,’” says Ian.

So far, 1012 mask connectors have been delivered to institutions including but not limited to: The Institute of Living in Hartford; Hartford Hospital; Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, NY; Gorham Family Dentistry in Gorham, NH; Middlesex Health; and Waterbury Gardens Nursing Home.

The project has become a family collaboration. Ian’s father, Paul Seals, whose business, Paul’s Appliance Repair in Hartford, has been temporarily shut down has joined his son. Paul trained himself in 3D printer maintenance and has been coming into Real Art Ways to keep the 3D printers up and running.

If you or anyone you know would like to receive surgical mask connectors please contact Ian Ally-Seals directly at

Photo 1: Ian Ally-Seals explains how 3D printers from Thomas Edison Middle School have been set up at Real Art Ways and are being used to print surgical mask protectors.
Photo 2: Surgical mask protector print by Ian Ally-Seals.