A TRAVELING SHOW TO OPEN UP DIALOGUE THROUGH THE POWER OF THE IMAGE
Art can be a powerful tool for helping children grow and assert themselves; unfortunately, due to ongoing budget deficits in many public school systems, funding for the arts has and continues to be first in line on the chopping block for most school administrators when it comes time for balancing their budgets. Justifiably or not the idea of cutting math and science or history or even gym classes before art is nothing new – recall Richard Dreyfuss’ portrayal of music teacher Glenn Holland in the very emotionally stunning film Mr. Holland’s Opus from 1995. Lowest in the hierarchy of teacher’s Mr. Holland ends up losing his job when music (a euphemism for the arts in general) in its entirety gets nixed by the school board.
Fast forward twenty years from 1995 and Richard Dreyfuss’ portrayal of Mr. Holland and we have the amazing true-life story of Mr. Richard Ransier who as a professional photographer and designer works with clients like Disney, Warner Brothers, Coca & Cola, Visa, Twentieth Century Fox and DreamWorks. Subsequent to his success in the commercial world of advertising and design saw a need when his kids were in the 3rd grade and started to volunteer teaching art in the public school system and 9 years later he can’t stop, he loves it.
In 2014, Mr. Ransier was approached by a large law enforcement agency that had a massive collection of guns that had been seized over the past year and were slated to be melted down for scrap metal in the following weeks. After the meeting he came back and presented a proposal to the department to create something positive with these destroyed gun pieces thru the power of the image that could benefit the community. The goal is to take something that was taken off the street and transform it into something of value. Create something positive out of something negative to benefit the community and start a constructive dialog — instead of just melting the guns down into scrap metal. The concept “Guns for Art” was born.
Richard’s idea — to create a traveling art show to help raise money for school art supplies and bring education about gun control into the schools – to paraphrase his thoughts – “If we can educate these kids early about gun control and safety and give them other tools like art to express themselves then we might help stop future violence.”
There’s no question that art expands a child’s ability to interact with the world and provides sets of skills for self-expression and communication but beyond the intangible there’s the very real introduction to the vocational aspect of art – art design for advertising, digital and traditional media magazines, billboards, the motion picture industry touching almost every sphere of our lives, fashion design and music. Paradoxically even in the sciences such as space exploration art renditions play an integral role in advancing new ideas which in turn leads to new discoveries and inventions.
It’s important to note that the travelling “Guns for Art” show is non-political in base and the idea is not to build it around anti-gun or pro-gun viewpoints, it is based on creating powerful images to open up dialog that speak to all points of view embracing diversity. If we can get people to start talking by way of making them aware thru the power of the image then positive changes will soon follow.