Why Mobilizing Artists Around Gun Control Will Change the National Conversation
It's been a couple of months since we launched The Gun Show and started asking artists to make posters about gun control in order to raise national awareness around the issue. We've been experimenting with large-scale creative collaborations for years, but unlike uniting behind a candidate for President, exploring the real meaning of conversation, or helping to advocate environmental action, inviting artists to make work about gun control comes with its own unique obstacles that we feel it is our job to remove. Because despite knowing so many artists who want to work on social impact projects, and so many organizations who desperately need to be more creative (and know it) they still exist in separate worlds. This leaves very little opportunity for organic collaboration.
But collaboration is our goal. When creative thinkers and makers are able to work successfully with campaigns, and organizations (and even the government!) amazing things happen. The contributions we've received at The Gun Show so far have been beautiful and thoughtful. They represent a range of authentic voices—something often lacking from the national conversation. We're getting new images from artists of all stripes all over the world everyday.
The challenge of transforming the idea of gun control—a particularly depressing and complicated national problem—into an inviting and inspiring call-to-action is certainly a tough one. But we believe that's our job as artists: to bring this conversation to the table. In fact, successful creative collaboration is a lot like a great dinner party: you need to be organized in advance, everyone needs to be invited, and you need an adequate space. And most importantly, like a good host, you need to engage everyone in conversation.
We'll be launching many more campaigns in the coming months, but as the national conversation about guns continues and legislation moves through Congress please contribute a poster to the Gun Show. Or download and print one out and put it in your window or on your wall. Start new conversations. It's the only way things will change.
Aaron Perry-Zucker co-founded the Creative Action Network, working to crowdsource creativity for causes. The Gun Show will be on display in San Francisco for one night only on April 18th at 518 Valencia with Van Jones and Rebuild the Dream. The show is free, and open to the public.
Images listed in order of appearance by John Vincent, Felix Sockwell, Ann-Christine Pineiro, Michael Thompson, James Nesbit, Chris Lozos.