Sandy Hook. Parkland. Buffalo.
After each new mass shooting, Americans express shock, outrage and sorrow. We think: Now something must change.
When nothing does, we wonder what we can do.
Lorie Lewis and Darcy Hicks are making wings. They want all the rest of us to make them too.
As communications and marketing director at the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, Lori knows that the arts have a powerful impact on society. Theater, music and visual art have the power to get people thinking, talking — and eventually, creating change.
After the latest horror, in Uvalde, she had an idea: a nationwide art project, focused on wings.
Wings make things move. They propel us forward, safely and freely. Plus, they’re beautiful.
Lorie messaged David Hogg, the Parkland survivor and Harvard University student who has become one of the nation’s leading advocates for gun safety reform.
He loved the idea. Together, they created Wings4Peace.
The group put out a call to all Americans: “artists, non-artists, students, teachers, builders, artisans and activists.” On the 24th of each month*, from July through October, everyone is encouraged to create pieces of wing-themed public art. All 4 works will be displayed next to each other.
Each piece should incorporate special words, revealed each month on the Wings4Peace website. The first word, for July, was “peace.” The words for August are “in America.” The full message will be revealed at the end, right before the mid-term elections.
Westport artist and longtime social justice advocate Darcy Hicks is all in.
“Social media is important,” the 1984 Staples High School graduate says. “But public art is live. It’s visual. It’s 3D. It really engages people.”
“Public art” is just that. It can appear on trees, ladders, poles, fences, bridges, windows, yards, walls, sidewalk or rocks.
It can be any medium: a billboard, canvas, sculpture, projection, chalk or anything else.
Hicks’ work is displayed at the Westport Museum of History & Culture. She hopes local artists (and non-artists) will place their wings at spots like the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, Jesup Green, Veterans Green, beaches, public parks — wherever Westporters gather.
Among the local artists planning to join in: Miggs Burroughs.
Seeing wings all over Westport — and across America — won’t magically end gun violence. But, Darcy says, raising awareness through this project could lead to concrete action, like voter registration or letter-writing.
At the very least, she notes, “it will show kids that their community cares.”
Wings4Peace is not about taking away guns, she adds. It’s about safety.
“I haven’t met any gun owner or 2nd Amendment proponent who thinks that mass shootings are okay, or who wants children killed.
“This is a way for us to reflect, and hopefully act, in a positive way.”
*The 24th is the anniversary of the Uvalde shooting.
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