The second edition of portraits illuminating the lives of those lost or tragically altered due to gun violence premiered last Friday night at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. There was a crowd of over 200 attendees and an inspiring program of speakers including Diamond Santiago, a brave teen who is struggling with the lingering effects of her own gunshot wounds, the always motivational Movita Johnson-Harrell, Senator Art Haywood, and the spoken word artists Lindo Yes. The crowd was energized and we can actually be optimistic about our ability to change this pattern of violence and work towards a cure for this epidemic. The portraits this year are as diverse in approach and style as the beautiful souls they represent. Many thanks to the artists for their dedication and gift of their talents and to the families who bravely shared their grief with us.
The Rev. Dr. Burnett kindly offered to host the portraits at this beautiful old church. It is being renovated and the portraits are hanging in the temporary sanctuary. It is wonderful that they will be seen by worshipers. They will also be seen by the many men participating in programs relating to “Men of Faith: Restored and Renewed” which is the theme of Men’s Day on October 28.
The church is open to many other groups throughout the week and we are so glad to be able to share these souls with them.
This is the last stop of a year long tour of the portraits. The original plan was to have them on view for one month in one space. It is truly remarkable what has grown from this poignant effort of artists and families to bring attention to this tragic situation. The Second Annual Souls Shot: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence, a new group of souls, will premiere in November and it will also travel for one year.
The portraits are installed in the beautiful building housing Tyler School of Art on the Temple Campus. They are in a second floor hallway on a bright yellow wall. Several classes, most from the College of Public Health will be meeting with us to discuss the project and its conception and impact. We are so grateful for this opportunity to interact with the students. Thanks to artist Ann Hartzell for helping to hang the exhibition and to Robert Blackson at Tyler for making this possible.
The beautiful reception for the portraits at the State Capitol was a testament to Senator Art Haywood's unflagging support for all of us working to make our communities safer. Thank you to all those from the local Harrisburg chapter of Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence who attended as well as the folks from Moms Demand Action and, of course, the artists and families who traveled from Philadelphia for this event. There are photos and comments posted on the Souls Shot portrait project facebook page.
Yesterday the portraits were installed in the East Wing of the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Many, many people stopped to glance and then stayed to really look at the faces and take in the details of these lives.
We are excited to announce there will be a wine and cheese reception and program featuring Senator Art Haywood. We are excited to take this project to a wider audience and hope to begin a project in Harrisburg and expand to other communities, as well. We are thankful to our volunteers and welcome any one who would like to help! We hope to see you in Harrisburg.
The portraits are hanging in the beautiful Main Line Art Center until mid-July. The colorful paintings of Armen Yepoyan are in the adjoining gallery. He held a reception Thursday evening which was attended by well over one hundred people, most of who took the time to look at the portraits and learn about the Souls Shot portrait project. It seems impossible for anyone to view these works without being moved. There were many who saw the portraits and have contacted us with interest in helping in many ways.
We will hold a reception on July 12 at the Art Center and raise more funds to keep the good work of Heeding God's Call to End Gun Violence and the portrait project going! We are excited to be planning the second annual exhibition, as stated here previously, as well as the third edition! Some of the venues we are lining up include cathedrals, synagogues, art centers , theaters, and more. This is moving toward a project that will have participation by other cities, as well. We are proud to be able to shine a light on the tragic losses our communities are suffering and honor the victims.
In June and most of July the portraits will hang at the Main Line Art Center at 746 Panmure Rd. in Haverford., PA 19041. The art center runs a camp for most of the summer so the exhibition will be seen by dozens for people every day. We will be planning activities with the the camp attendees as well as some community programs. We are so grateful to the Main Line Art Center for this beautiful space.
We hope to also have a reception at some time and will post those details as we have them.
In August the portraits will be hanging in the State Capital in Harrisburg! We will be posting information about any receptions or programs as the details become available.
The second annual exhibition is being planned now and artists are already matched with family members of victims and beginning work on the portraits. Families are sharing photos and memorabilia and those all important stories about the lives lived by the souls lost or tragically altered by gun violence. The varied approaches and media of the artists are beautifully appropriate to illustrate the varied and unique lives they are illustrating.
We are now scheduling venues for hosting the second annual exhibition and would love to hear from anyone with an appropriate space.
Laura Madeleine met with several of the youth from the leadership group at the church along with Pastor David Smith. They learned the history of the project and toured the portraits. There was an in depth discussion of many aspects of the exhibition - the different approaches and media used by the artists, how details of the lives were revealed, the importance of these images, and the importance of encouraging more people to really look at these faces and be moved to action. Souls Shot portrait project is grateful to them for their questions, comments, insights, and dedication to helping spread the word about this poignant exhibition. Thank you!
Main Line Gun Violence Awareness Day is Saturday May 6 and will feature the Memorial to the Lost and the Souls Shot: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence. The public display of a walk through the streets to bring attention to the issue will culminate at the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church with the very personal experience of interaction with the names on the T-Shirts in the Memorial to the Lost and the portraits of the victims. All are welcome.
To all artists and families/friends of victims: The deadline to apply for artists and to answer the invitation to participate for families/friends has been extended! You now have until May 31, 2018. Thank you!
The portraits were installed at the glorious space at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. The Souls made into the space, thankfully, before the gale force winds kicked up! The staff there is thrilled to have the exhibition and looking forward to many visitors and to the reception on April 20th.
On Sunday, March 11, Curator and Director of the Souls Shot portrait project, Laura Madeleine, had the pleasure of taking two groups of school children through the exhibition in it's current home at the Mainline Unitarian Church in Devon, PA.
The students were completely engaged with the images and the stories that go with them. They learned about the various approaches of the artists and how and why they were chosen to represent their subjects. They were able to touch Karen Schectman Cole's lovely portrait of Guy Anthony Green, pictured with one of his children. Ms. Cole coated the work with an encaustic surface which is a type of wax and resin mix. It creates a smooth warm finish and we talked about the comfort it will bring to the family, adding the dimension of a gentle touch to the experience of seeing the images.
It is our hope that many, many more students will have the opportunity to come to see the portraits and learn about the importance and impact of this project. And, of course, education for adults is a goal, as well.