Orange is used as the identifying color of the gun violence prevention movement in the country. Earlier this month, the national Wear Orange campaign staged a virtual exhibit to raise awareness of gun violence issues. 

Here in western Mass, Wear Orange: An Exhibit will take place in downtown Easthampton through June 30th. The public display was curated by Doris Madsen, who joined Zydalis Bauer to discuss raising awareness of gun violence through art. 

Read the full transcript:

Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Orange is used as the identifying color of the gun violence prevention movement in the country, and a virtual art exhibit marked the national observance of the Wear Orange earlier this month.

Locally, the exhibition Wear Orange: A Virtual Art Exhibit will take place in Easthampton with selected pieces curated by Doris Madsen on public display downtown.

I spoke with Madsen to find out more about raising awareness of gun violence through art.

Doris Madsen, Wear Orange Easthampton: Wear Orange began with the story of a young high school girl from Chicago who was in a marching band at Obama’s second inauguration. And shortly after that in Chicago, she was shot. I don’t know the specific story of that shooting.

Her friends got the idea to use Orange since it was her favorite color and it went from there.

Zydalis Bauer: Now, a couple things that struck me when I was viewing this exhibit were the powerful quotes and stories that the artists included about the artwork that was featured in the exhibit, and also how many forms of art can take. I mean, there was paintings, there were drawings, there were sculptures, and much more.

What were some of the stories and pieces of artwork that left the biggest impact on you while you were curating this exhibit?

Doris Madsen: Well, the one in the movie, which we ended, with is Marsha Lee. And I just found that story at the end. She had submitted orange flowers and her rocks. She was really touched by the whole thing. And it shows how somebody like Marsha can pick up the pieces, and work on behalf of Gun Sense.

Zydalis Bauer: One of the featured local artists, Arch MacInnes, included a quote in the virtual exhibit with artwork that said, quote, “Gun control issues have split this country apart. Common sense gun restrictions are all that are necessary.”

I also want to mention that on the website, it states that over one hundred lives daily are lost to gun violence.

What change do you feel is necessary to have an impact on decreasing gun violence incidents?

Doris Madsen: Well, everybody has to understand the need. And and that goes from, you know, localities, towns, cities, you know, state governments, and our federal governments. It’s it’s at many, many levels. And, you know, state governments, they’re all different. Everybody has to understand that. But it is the power of voting.

Zydalis Bauer: And I know that your artwork is also featured in the exhibit. And you use an interesting technique. You use some historical maps to really talk about these social issues that have existed in our country for a long time.

Can you talk to me more about that?

Doris Madsen: I started out, during the pandemic, using an image of the Mayflower. And I was using that image of the Mayflower because I had an embroidery my mother had made. And I realized when I was finished with that kind of body of work of the Mayflower that…well, maps — when I started looking at maps and I you know, I saw that map that is featured in that piece in the exhibit. You know, when I saw the guns, it was amazing. And it’s where we live.

Zydalis Bauer: So for everyone who’s interested in viewing this exhibit, how can they do so?

Doris Madsen: The virtual gallery page will be on the website of Easthampton City Arts through at least September. The window will be on display through June 29th. And the movie is on Mass Moms Wear Orange Page, which is

Zydalis Bauer: What do you hope that the biggest takeaway is for all who view this exhibit?

Doris Madsen: The takeaway should be that everybody has a voice. Whatever that voice, it’s important. And together, we can make a pretty powerful statement.