Artists Turn Guns from the Streets of New Orleans into Works of Art in Exhibition at New America

Exhibition Opens with Panel and Book Launch Featuring Artists and Contributors
Press Release
Aug. 30, 2016

Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan think tank and civic enterprise New America, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, and Guns in the Hands of Artists Foundation announce a special public presentation of the widely acclaimed traveling exhibition Guns in the Hands of Artists at New America’s headquarters (740 15th Street NW, Suite 900), just steps from the White House, from September 19-October 7, 2016. With the support of the City of New Orleans, this iteration of the exhibition features thirty nationally known artists who have used over 180 decommissioned guns from the streets of New Orleans to create original works of art addressing the issue of guns and gun violence in our society. This exhibition has traveled the country, appearing at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Washington University in St. Louis, Art Basel Miami Beach and most recently Minneapolis. To coincide with the exhibition traveling to Washington, D.C., Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) has sponsored a complimentary exhibition of Guns in the Hands of Artists in the Rotunda of the Russel Senate Office Building from October 3-7 2016.

On Tuesday, September 20 at 4:00 p.m. New America will host an invitation-only reception and panel discussion featuring conversation with artist and organizer Jonathan Ferrara, MSNBC reporter and New America fellow Trymaine Lee, and others. The panel will be available to the public via livestream at

"I am pleased to welcome this wonderful art exhibit to New America's D.C. office. Jonathan's thought-provoking work brings a new dimension to the public conversation around gun violence, and I am so proud to host it here. New America is an organization dedicated to American renewal, in which art plays an important, and often underappreciated, part. We welcome the public to view the installation in our beautiful office space.”
-Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America

The exhibition coincides with the release of Guns in the Hands of Artists, a 220-page book featuring artworks from the exhibition paired with a collection of essays on guns and gun violence by thought leaders including: Walter Isaacson, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), curator Dan Cameron, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Capt. Mark Kelly (Ret.), New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, Maria Cuomo Cole, New Orleans’ Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, and others.  The book is published by Inkshares, a crowd-funding publishing platform, and is available for pre-order at Inkshares and Amazon and available in bookstores November 1.

“In his new book, Ferrara brings a hauntingly beautiful new perspective to the national conversation about gun violence in America and how we understand it. This smart collection of brilliant artists and voices reimagines the devastating violence that cuts through the fabric of society, while paying homage to the hope that drives those of us in this movement every day. Guns in the Hands of Artists is required reading for anyone looking to shift the American gun violence discussion from one rooted in debate, to one striving for solutions.”
-Dan Gross, President, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

The general public is invited to visit the exhibition from September 20 to October 7 at New America (740 15th Street NW, Suite 900) Monday - Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., please call 202-986-2700 for the latest information about viewing dates and times.

About Guns in the Hands of Artists:

In 1996 gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara and artist Brian Borrello organized the first Guns in the Hands of Artists exhibition in New Orleans—transforming guns removed from the city’s streets into original works of art.  The persistence of violent gun crime in New Orleans and across America led Ferrara to reprise the project in October 2014 at his eponymous gallery in New Orleans to coincide with the Prospect.3 biennial. With the cooperation of the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Police Department, Ferrara obtained 186 guns by way of the department’s gun buy-back program. Over thirty painters, sculptors, poets, and filmmakers, many of whom are gun owners and/or have firsthand experience with gun violence, were challenged to create new works using these guns. Artists include Mel Chin, Skylar Fein, Peter Sarkisian, Ron Bechet, Bradley McCallum and Deborah Luster who lost her mother to gun violence.

“As an artist, activist and social entrepreneur, I asked myself, ‘What can I do to address this issue that pervades our society?’ Putting together this exhibition and book is my way of doing something. It’s my goal to use art and the creative process to facilitate new, frank dialogue about gun violence. The exhibition fosters a new discourse by bringing the discussion into the realm of art; without the often partisan and polarized politics that surround the issue.”
- Jonathan Ferrara, Co-Founder, Guns in the Hands of Artists

The project has been featured in The Associated Press, Vice, Al Jazeera America, Sculpture Magazine, The Art Newspaper, The Atlantic, Artnet News, and most recently MSNBC.

Digital Resources for Guns in the Hand of Artists

About Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is a collective environment of creative visions; a commercial gallery with a public conscience. Artist, activist, and entrepreneur Jonathan Ferrara opened the gallery in 1998 to give artists a voice. Since its inception, the gallery has focused on cutting edge works by local, national and international artists with a sense of purpose, mission, and message. In recent years, it has gained a national reputation and increasingly presents artists and exhibitions in cities across the US, Europe, and the Middle East including Never Records in Amman, Jordan, Miami Project during Art Basel Miami Beach, the VOLTA Fair in New York City and Basel, Switzerland, artMRKT Houston, San Francisco and Seattle as well as, working with museums, institutions and private collections around the world.

About New America

New America is dedicated to the renewal of American politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. Our hallmarks are big ideas, impartial analysis, pragmatic policy solutions, technological innovation, next generation politics, and creative engagement with broad audiences.