'Loaded Conversations': Quilt museum tackles gun violence

Posted at 6:02 AM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 06:02:55-04

SAN JOSE, CA (KRON/CNN) - People are engaging in conversations about guns everywhere these days and one unlikely place is showcasing an exhibit intended to help foster those discussions is a quilt museum.

Guns: Loaded Conversations is the latest show at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

The politically-charged exhibit is a collection from artists who have something to say about gun violence.

Judi Venuto of San Lorenzo was very impressed.

“I'm a quilter and so seeing the social side of that and the creativity is just a little bit on the awesome side,” Venuto said.

Produced by artists from across the country, the various works depict lax gun laws while paying tribute to the victims of gun violence.

The museum insists it is not taking sides, but there is a growing number of activist quilters who are doing just that, said Nancy Bavor, the museum’s director.

“Our idea is to prove a place for understanding, education, for civil discourse and I think the museum has an obligation and an opportunity to engage the community in talking about this really complex and controversial issue,” Bavor said.

Two years and hundreds of hours in the making, the 30-plus quilts tell the stories of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant, among others.

Many of the quilts in the exhibit have a message that is either anti-gun or anti-gun violence calling for reform of some kind. But not all.

Some show the pleasures of having firearms for hunting and sports.

Others also pay tribute to those who died in mass shootings at Las Vegas, Sandy Hook and schools across the nation.

“I'm just a little in awe and especially the fact that a lot of this was done by kids,” Venuto said. “I'm very proud.”

Visitors can join the conversation too by placing a shell casing in the slot that best represents their views on guns and gun violence.

Copyright 2018 KRON via CNN. All rights reserved.