By Jennifer Epperson
Executive Director, ImagiVenture Foundation
Sedona AZ (May 10, 2013) – I go to the library for stories–short ones, novels, and autobiographies. Because libraries are democratic places, anyone can find, deep within its pages, something or someone they can relate to and enjoy getting to know.
Libraries provide a civilizing influence on community. They provide information, respite, a place to read, study, research, learn, and engage with others. Our library in Sedona is a lovely light-filled space sectioned by category, usage and age. It has cozy corners and outdoor gardens, a fireplace and good Internet. It has an interesting selection of books, with space for more.
For the Guns/Children Exhibition, I envisioned a place accessible to everyone in the community. With a tight budget and high hopes, I launched a search for a place to host the event that landed me at the library steps. The ImagiVenture Foundation team needed an intellectual partner to pull off the series of free, public events that make up the month-long GUNS/Children Exhibition starting May 10. As ImagiVenture’s executive director, I am confident that there is no better partner to encourage an intellectual conversation than the Sedona Public Library.
I am pumped and terrified to have this amazing opportunity to bring you a collaborative art exhibition featuring 30+ artists who have given freely of their time to engineer this event, to create for this event, and finally to produce it for you to enjoy. For months, behind the scenes, cultural creatives have been researching, painting, agonizing, sculpting, writing and collaborating, laying the groundwork for Sedona to have a public conversation about guns and children. And you all are invited to join in.
Visual artists will lead the way, opening the doors and possibly your minds with an amazing explosion of imagination. Artists have taken up this subject with vigor, thoughtfulness, humor and grief. On opening night, performers will move you through the space with dance, spoken word and music. Later in the month at Java Love Cafe, you will get a chance to tell your gun stories and listen as others tell theirs. As a grand finale, the library will host a Community Conversation about guns and children, in talk show format with special guests presenting thought-provoking perspectives, influences and facts. You are invited to join and co-create an exciting and informative evening.
The exhibition was conceived as a politically neutral platform, allowing the artists to express themselves freely, as guaranteed by the first amendment. So, what do I hope happens? That you, dear viewer, as the artists have done before you, will consider your ideas and beliefs about guns, and about children. Where is your allegiance, and what is your personal responsibility? I believe few people condone violence to children, but our actions regarding protection are diverse and often at odds with one another. As both guns and children proliferate, which will be protected: Our right to own guns, our children’s safety, neither or both?
We welcome the community to join in the conversation and enjoy the show.
This event is getting notice statewide, with some national coverage. Thanks to the ImagiVenture team for helping raise Sedona’s profile in the arts with this innovative and courageous show!
Horrible items not for Children… This exhibition should be pulled down… IT is not Art at all…
Interesting choices of words, Mr./Ms. (anonymous) “Liberty Lincoln”. Apparently exposure to the real weapons (as our Arizona legislature is intent upon allowing virtually everywhere) is just peachy keen, but depiction of guns as a first amendment freedom of expression is “horrible”.
However, I call particular attention to the suggestion, not that the exhibition should be “taken down”…but that it be PULLED DOWN – an inducement to a violent act.
Obviously, Liberty Lincoln is not only super-sensitive about depiction of guns, he/she is a world class “art critic”, capable of defining for all of humanity exactly “what is art”. While at it, we may as well be clued-in on the definitions of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.
It is very hard to make a political statement with art and not be didactic and boring (and, hence, not art). However, the Guns/Children exhibit currently in the library manages to make bold, graphic points with bold, graphic art. The works could stand alone as art, and they could stand alone as the artists’ viewpoint on children and guns. I applaud Imagi/Venture; this is one of the best exhibits I’ve seen in Sedona. It does what art should do — it engages the eye and the mind.
The reality is, children are around guns all of the time, sadly. I was in the library yesterday and saw part of the exhibit. I think it brings this violence up close and personal – something many need to really ‘get’ that the desensitization we expose our children and ourselves to is doing an incredible amount of damage. Video games, TV shows, movies – those are not real things happening except our mind does not store it that way. When someone is shot, it’s as real as it gets. Let the exhibit do what it is doing – bringing reality home and up close, making it very personal.
I have not seen this art exhibit, but I will. I will withhold my comments and feelings until after I have seen it, but on the surface, it seems to be free speech issue and I think it represents the best about America.
This gun issue is surely something to engage artists who use the medium of art to express themselves. I suggest we all go see the art exhibit and see what we take away from it.
I’m proud to live in a place bold and brave enough to provide a pubic access space for such a stimulating subject.
Elizabeth Oakes said it so well above: didactic art can get tiresome quickly but the curation on this show is strong and so many of the pieces are very thoughtful works of art that transcend mere politics. Bravo.
Also it should be noted to the critics of the show that there was an open call for submissions, and other points of view or emphasis were welcomed. Also note that a number of the artists are themselves gun owners, so it’s not just a “coffee-house-Liberal” effort, but a real solid consideration of the mixture of youth and guns.
And on offensive imagery. I saw the show and would have brought it up with ImagiVenture if I thought there was something outwardly gratuitous. I did not. The works of art may lead to THINKING about horrific consequences though, which is just the point of some of the artists.