‘One Gun Gone’ At Trade Pop Up

A gun violence prevention public art show featuring these molded crayon sculptures opens Thursday at Trade Pop Up Gallery on Governor Street. (Facebook event page.)

One Gun Gone is a multidisciplinary gun violence prevention public art project in which students from underserved neighborhoods in Providence participate in a professional art making and marketing exercise that provides immersive experiences at an art college, an advertising agency, a community youth arts center and positive interactions with local law enforcement agencies.

(I love the look of these pieces but they must never find their way into a poorly-lit situation where they could be mistaken for the real thing.) The project began with glass molds and now includes candles and pencils — the different media making different statements. Artist Christopher Watts (BFA, RISD ’90) received his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art where he is currently on the faculty. Watts tells the history and purpose of the work.

The One Gun Gone project was inspired by the passing of four of my teenage students from gun violence over the past fifteen years. Our goal has been to take one gun off the street, make artwork from it and then sell that artwork to raise money to buy more guns off the streets with a police sanctioned gun buy back. By breaking the negative economy of one potential street gun (which can be resold illegally countless times) we will create a positive art making economy that will raise more money than if we had resold the original (now decommissioned) firearm itself. To start I legally purchased a handgun and hired an artist to make a mold of the weapon (which my students never saw or touched). From that mold we have made four different types of sculpture that each speak to gun violence in our community in different ways.

This is not unlike the work of Providence metalsmith Boris Bally whose ‘Gun Totem’ sits across from the courthouse on South Main Street. Bally was also turning gun buy-backs into art.

Show posters and T-shirts will be for sale at the exhibition.

6pm to 9pm, Thursday, October 26, Trade Pop Up, 34 Governor Street, (directions)

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