DAYTON, OHIO — Brian DeLuca, director of ArtStreet at the University of Dayton, has notified The Newtown Bee that on Tuesday, September 24, the first of the three-part “BULLET: Who Pulled the Trigger” exhibit opened with a Sandy Hook/Newtown perspective. The focus of this part is an installation by New York artist S.B. “Suzy” Woods, “Mediation on Mourning,” of eight prone female figures crafted from muslin, ash, marble dust, and polyurethane. Ms Woods recently donated the sculptures to Newtown Action Alliance (NAA), a grassroots organization devoted to educating the public about common sense gun laws.
NAA in turn has decided to loan the sculptures to the BULLET exhibit, until a decision is reached on permanent housing of the piece or sale of the piece. (See “Gift To Newtown Foundation Will Travel To Ohio.”)
Mr DeLuca was pleased that Ms Woods was on hand for the installation and opening of the exhibit.
“Her visit to ArtStreet and the engagement she was here for, BULLET, was a new start to a new vision for ArtStreet here on the campus of the University of Dayton,” said Mr DeLuca. “Her powerful work had arrived the Friday prior from collaborator Dave Ackert, at the Newtown Action Alliance and Newtown Foundation. This was a very, very ambitious and very, very unique exhibition on a college campus that was, itself, looking at the future and what conversations need to be had as we move forward loving, living, and learning in this life,” he said.
Projected onto the eight sculptures placed about the exhibition room was a media piece of over 8,000 names of the documented individuals killed by gun violence since 12/14. “Hovering above the entire work is emotional and honest artistic reactions by Sandy Hook and Newtown youth, providing both color and hope,” Mr DeLuca said.
The evening was initiated by a visit from Miami (Ohio) University students Samantha Kent and Kiely Kuligowski, who are graduates of Newtown High School.
“Their touching, personal, and emotional opening moment of silence set a tone for the entire BULLET exhibition. The Dayton Early College Academy students in attendance were inspired to move forward with their work, as they look to October 8 to open their next part of the BULLET exhibit, along with nationally recognized artist James Pate,” said Mr DeLuca.
“It was definitely an interesting experience, to see how non-Newtowners reacted to our tragedy,” said Ms Kent. “Susan’s pieces were so appropriately powerful and tragic. I overheard a couple of reactions to ‘The Women,’ and people were generally scared of them. To me they were comforting, [lying in] a position I was all too familiar with assuming.”
Ms Kuligowski found the BULLET exhibit to be “extremely poignant.
“For me,” she said, “it captured the grief and shock we all felt after Sandy Hook, in a very visceral way. It was comforting to me to see something being done in response to our town’s tragedy, in a place as far away as Ohio.” Ms Kuligowski added that she sees the BULLET exhibit as a step forward for both recovery and change.
“With Kiely and me being that living connection to Newtown, we made it real to these people,” said Ms Kent. “We made them think.”
Nearly 100 people were in attendance to hear S.B. Woods talk about her work.
Sarah Ward’s South Chicago Art Center will install the final piece of BULLET on October 22. Meanwhile, “BULLET: Who Pulled The Trigger” wil run through November 3 in the Ohio ArtStreet space.