Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 01-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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PAWTUCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | JANUARY 9-15, 2019 THE VALLEY 7 One Gun Gone project aims to change mindsets Art show opening Jan. 12 PROVIDENCE – One Gun Gone, an anti-gun violence art project supported by students from urban areas where violence is more prevalent, aims to take guns off the streets to create safer neighbor- hoods for everyone. Students participate in a profes- sional art making and marketing exercise with the goal of using prof- its from the sale of artwork to sup- port a gun buy-back effort. The One Gun Gone project will host an art show of student and professional adult artist work at the Pop Up Shop at 233 Westminster St., Providence, Jan. 7-26. The show opening on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m., will include an "act of awareness, where One Gun Gone members will trans- form a thing of darkness into a thing of light." This entails the melt- ing of a candle wax gun sculpture and then pouring that wax into a candle mold while students speak about their feelings about gun vio- lence. "The One Gun Gone project was inspired by the deaths of four of my teenage students from gun violence over the past 15 years," said artist and creator Scott Lapham, an edu- cator and photographer who began this project nearly four years ago. One Gun Gone takes one gun off the street, makes art from that gun, and sells that gun sculpture art to buy more guns off the street. All participating students are from neighborhoods most affected by gun violence. Lapham told The Breeze most students involved are from Providence and Pawtucket, with hopes of expanding the pro- gram with youth from other cities such as Woonsocket in the future. The flourishing program, which meets weekly, does workshops in school settings and is always look- ing to grow further, he said. Lapham said this project is a joint effort between youth, adult artists, and himself. Each show works to engage a new audience through both traditional and non-traditional ways. Asked specifically about the effec- tiveness of gun buy-back programs compared to some other anti-vio- lence effort, Lapham said he and others look at this effort as sym- bolic. Taking guns off the street is not going to fix the problem in and of itself, he said. When one really looks at the problem, there are "two buckets," one policy and the other By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor SCOTT LAPHAM, center, works a One Gun Gone workshop as part of the Princes 2 Kings mentorship program where he works. He is holding a One Gun Gone crayon gun sculpture, made to reflect on the fact that children are the primary users of crayons and that children are learning about gun violence too early. culture, for someone to pour one's energy into. "We are interested in both, we want to support both, but when it really comes down to it, we are looking at culture," he said. As artists, members have the flex- ibility to be political if needed, he said, but "we want to change our- selves first, say that we don't sup- port the status quo, we don't think it's OK that one of the leading causes of death in our neighbor- hoods is gun violence." One student from El Salvador described the gun buy-back pro- gram, when successful, as "grains of sand to the number of guns that are out there," he said, "but they'll be our grains of sand." For many young people, there's a lot of resignation when violence has happened around them, said Lapham. With this project, there's a space where they can state that they don't like it and are taking a stand against it. The hope is that as more young people say they'll stay away from something rather than just living with it, they'll one day grow into their own as adults and "become an active participant out- side of this project." For one person, taking a stand might involve telling a friend they won't ride in their car if they're carrying, he said. For another, it might be thinking twice before complying with a boyfriend's request to hide a gun. "These are the kinds of things people can think about for them- selves," he said. It's not about disliking people in a certain kind of life or judging them, he said, it's about saying, "I don't like it, and I shouldn't be part of it." The One Gun Gone project is a "multi-layered, real life project that has mental health benefits for me personally," he said, and also provides a growth trajectory for students and people who see the show. It is not about creating a shock factor, he said, but sharing how artists truly feel and letting them do something about it. For more on the project and examples of artwork, visit one-gun-gone . A pencil gun sculpture created as part of the ONE GUN GONE project. You can place a Classified Ad anytime at Click on 'Classifieds' do you know? Custom Finish or You Finish & Save Tables • Chairs • Entertainment Centers Stools • Hutches • Bookcases • Benches Corner Cabinets • Bedroom Sets • etc. 1661 Lonsdale Ave., Lincoln, RI 725-0360 Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thu & Fri 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. UNFINISHED & FINISHED FREE 4 PEG COAT BOARD With any purchase $20 Off any purchase of $100 or more With ad. One per order. Does not apply to sale items. 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