MCA Students Team Up with Memphis Gun Down to Fight [gun] Violence
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Design students from Memphis College of Art have been working in conjunction with Memphis Gun Down to develop a public service announcement guerrilla campaign to raise awareness of the problem of gun violence in Memphis communities. The project is led by MCA Assistant Professor Hyuna Park and Visiting Instructor Cat Normoyle with students from the Sustainable Design Studio and Design of Advertising classes. Students participating in the project include Bubba Buxton, Shelda Edwards, Lisa Fears, Bailey Gonzales, Dilland Gregory, Jennifer Johnson, Alexandra Lee, Dylan Rutherford, Mary Stetson, Carleigh Stratton, John Wilbanks and Rashad Worthy.
The project resonated with students when they received the following information from the Memphis Gun Down Initiative: according to data from Innovate Memphis, in 2011, 11 juveniles were shot and killed in Memphis. Another 14 were arrested and charged with murder. All 25 saw their lives and their families destroyed by a single bullet. According to the Dec. 31, 2012 Commercial Appeal article “Gun Access Cited in Homicide Rise in Memphis” by Kevin McKenzie, in 2011, two-thirds of homicides in the U.S. involved a gun. Of the 242 homicides in Tennessee, 126 were in the city of Memphis.
The students focused on youth and families in the community of Frayser, conducting research that included ride-alongs with Memphis Police Department patrols. They then began to work on their designs for the campaign. In an effort to avoid focusing on fear tactics, the students decided to emphasize alternatives to gun violence through conflict resolution. They then took these ideas out into the community to get feedback on which ideas resonated with community members.
The students’ designs will be showcased in Fight [gun] Violence, a multi-media exhibition on view from Jan. 7–29 in the Rust Hall Main Gallery at Memphis College of Art with an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 17 from 6–8 p.m. Rust Hall’s Main Gallery is open Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and Sunday noon – 4 p.m. All MCA exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit mca.edu. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/memphiscollegeofart and on Twitter at @memphisart.