Interactive Radar: Track Storms

Art Students Use Paintbrushes To Fight Gun Violence In Memphis

(Memphis) A different way to fight gun violence — Memphis College of Art students are using their paintbrushes, hoping to stop bloodshed in some of Memphis’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

“People can see that youth aren’t standing for violence in their community,” said Dorian Spears, with the Gun Down Anti-Violence Campaign.

About a dozen art students are hoping to get their message out loud and clear: guns aren’t the answer.

It’s a growing problem in our city.

Eleven kids were shot and killed two years ago, showing Memphis has more gun violence than most cities in the country.

“Because we have a demographic of 13- to 23-year-old African-American males that are dying from gun violence, this type of messaging actually connects them with the arts community,” said Spears.

The art students walked around and talked to people living in neighborhoods where bloodshed happens every day.

“That stopped us on the street and asked what we were doing, they wanted to share their stories,” said art student Lisa Fears.

The young artists took the community’s stories and put it on a canvas hoping to show others what is going on, the tragedies so many have become used to.

They know this won’t put an end to gun violence, but they say it’s a start.

“The people we talked to were really positive about it. They wanted something to happen. It really touched my heart,” said art student Bailey Gonzales.

The exhibit is being held in the Memphis College of Art’s Rust Hall.

It’s open every day and is free to the public.

The city’s Gun Down Initiative also plans on using the art in a social media campaign.

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