The months after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 were dark days for gun-safety advocates. Congress couldn’t pass even a modest gun-safety law, despite the wholesale slaughter of first-graders and their teachers by a shooter wielding an AR-15. An air of resignation – indeed, almost a pall of despair – settled over advocates; if this couldn’t change public and political opinion, what could?
But in 2016, after another mass shooting, metalsmith Boris Bally decided he couldn’t stand idly by. In a leap of faith, he and fellow metalsmiths, including Tim McCreight, Sue Amendolara, and Don Friedlich, decided that, as artists, it was time to act.
Thus began the traveling exhibition “IMAGINE Peace Now.” Bally had mounted a similar show in 1996. This one gave artists one stipulation: Use a decommissioned gun (or its parts) from community buy-back programs in an original piece of art. The show, in a slimmer, more distilled version, is now in St. Louis through May 13, sponsored by the Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design and Maryville University.