Soul Box Project

Midweek I was at the Multnomah Arts Center (Portland, OR) to view the current exhibit of the Soul Box Project. Since I didn’t get any overall photo, here is one of their photos of the whole:

1 sb canopy

This installation includes 15,000 Soul Boxes, one for each person killed or injured by gunfire in the US since the beginning of 2019, and panels from the Vision Quilt. In addition to memorializing people harmed by guns, both projects speak to gun safety.

A sample Soul Box

1 safety box

And a sample Vision Quilt panel

1 safety quit

This panel  drawing is from the youngest participant.

Both projects seek to include both gun owners and non-owners. The Vision Quilt Project emphasizes increased dialogue, and the Soul Box Project seeks to increase awareness of the problem by making its magnitude visible.

1 stats box

There were panels where all the boxes had a theme–remembering individuals from a mass shooting, remembering individuals killed or injured on a single day, for example–and panels with more random arrangements, memorializing individuals and expressing thoughts about guns. Some boxes remain plain, representing an anonymous victim.

There is a table with origami paper and instructions so visitors can pause and make boxes.  There are instructions on the Soul Box website for others to make and send boxes.   Earlier in the year 36,000 boxes were taken to Salem, Oregon’s state capitol. The goal is 200,000 to be taken to Washington in 2020; they have 50,000 to date.

ETA a comment about numbers: Numbers are taken from the Gun Violence Archive, a website begun in 2014 and considered reliable by Media Bias/Fact Check.  Installations use a variety of statistics, as in the Salem event using 2018 numbers and this one using 2019. (I imagine the 200,000 goal relates to anticipated total from 2014-2020, but I didn’t do the math.)



Filed under events, social issues

7 responses to “Soul Box Project

  1. Living in a country where gun crime is so much rarer because guns are rarer, I’m saddened by the need for this. What a great day for human life it would be if more people would realise that the the *right* to bear arms offers a choice, and they may choose not to exercise this right.

  2. This must be a very powerful display to see in person. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  3. dezertsuz

    Thanks for sharing the event. It’s nice to see one that doesn’t portray gun owners as savages or mentally ill. =)

  4. Thanks for sharing this. It must have been overwhelming to see the boxes cover all those surfaces–a sober reminder of the effects of our gun culture.

  5. Thanks for sharing this. It must have been overwhelming to see the boxes cover all those surfaces–a sober reminder of the effects of our gun culture.

  6. I agree that we need better gun control, and more responsible gun use, but this is a “hot button” issue on both sides, while I have read in several sources that more people each year die in swimming pools than from guns. Here is one reference:
    Again, I don’t disagree with the need to improve gun safety, but I think perspective may be lost due to media attention to gun problems rather than pool problems.

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