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Local artists collaborate to speak out against gun violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-The tragic events in Las Vegas has once again sparked a national gun rights debate. Two local artists are using art to send a strong message about gun violence at this year’s “ArtPrize” in Grand Rapids.

Anna Ryan Drew and Brooke Marks-Swanson both live and work in South Bend. Less than a year ago, they decided to collaborate on a piece tackling the issue that would be featured at the international art show.

“I act when I am responding to something with my art,” said Drew, who has an art studio in downtown South Bend.

“I hope people react not just by saying this is devastating and terribly sad, but there is a step beyond that that needs to be happening,” Drew said.


Brooke was previously part of a project called “Imagine Peace Now” and created a piece with a gun rendered inoperable. Anna was already working on a two dimensional painting of a gun target.

To add to Anna’s creation, Brooke used nearly 79,000 stitches of cotton twine to create an AK-47 and the word “enough”. Shell casings are also laid out on the floor.

After Sunday’s violent night in Las Vegas, they both believe their piece is more relevant than ever.

Drew believes the piece is a form of activism. Brooke says she had to do a lot of research before creating her portion. As a mother, she hopes future generations don’t have to deal with this violence in our society.

“If we’re not doing anything, then I guess there is no hope, so for me each little portion that we can contribute no matter how great or how small it may be will make a difference,” Swanson said.


ArtPrize ends on October 8th. Swanson and Drew’s collaboration is located inside the city water building in Grand Rapids. You can learn more about ArtPrize HERE.

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