Bullets to Bells with Stephanie Mercedes, IA&A at Hillyer, Thursday, 20. June 2019

Hillyer celebrates the 2019 By The People Festival with Bullets to Bells, a public participatory workshop by DC-based artist Stephanie Mercedes. In collaboration with Studio Gallery, Bullets to Bells invites members of the public to drop cleaned empty bullet casings into a small portable forge, and then watch as the bullet casings melt down and are transformed by Mercedes into a peaceful ringing bell. The bell will be hung on the site and will pay tribute to gun violence in the area. A short poem written collectively by the public who participate in the performance will be engraved on the bell made “by the people.” During the melting process, singers will quietly reflect on the moment of material transformation. Through this performance, the artist hopes to give agency back to local community members of DC who at times feel they cannot make a difference in national politics. In this collective experience they will bend a lethal material to their will turning violence into to Bells is presented as part of By the People Festival, an international arts and dialogue festival presented by Halcyon. Launched in 2018, the festival brings visual art, performing art, and dialogue to all four quadrants of Washington, DC, all completely free and open to the public. Each year a different curator interprets the festival’s founding themes: life, liberty, and the pursuit of the Artist:
Stephanie Mercedes is a Washington, DC-based artist who melts down weapons and bullet casings confiscated by the DC police to make musical installations and instruments. Mercedes has exhibited, performed and lectured at the Smithsonian, Bronx Museum and Queens Museum. Mercedes has been funded through George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and Light Works. In 2018 She was an artist in Residence at Halcyon Art Labs and VisArts. Mercedes hopes to transform and destroy the very materiality of violence into its opposite: music and art.
Thank you to our partner!
Studio Gallery is the longest running artist-owned gallery in Washington, DC. It features contemporary art in a wide variety of media by emerging and established artists. Studio Gallery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that showcases artworks by members and holds special exhibitions by invited guest artists and guest curators. The Gallery conducts community outreach programs and other charitable activities, all open to the public free of charge. More than two thousand artists have exhibited work in Studio Gallery including locally, nationally and internationally recognized artists as well as artists emerging onto the DC art scene. As an active participant in Dupont Circle arts events, the Gallery is active in area arts celebrations, performances, and lectures. This continues the Gallery's focus on being a vibrant part of the community through outreach, teaching, internships, and public art exhibitions.

Thursday, 20. June 2019, IA&A at Hillyer, Bullets to Bells with Stephanie Mercedes

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