Guns: Loaded Conversations

We hope to engage our visitors in conversations about the complex and controversial issue of the Second Amendment and gun use in this country.

—Nancy Bavor

San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (SJMQT) is hosting an array of exhibitions and events intended to spark dialogue in relation to the complicated and multifaceted topic of gun violence in America. SJMQT will be displaying the exhibitions Guns: Loaded Conversations (in collaboration with Studio Art Quilt Associates) and Generation of Change: A Movement, Not a Moment (from the East Bay–based Social Justice Sewing Academy) at an Opening Reception from 3pm–5pm on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

Co-curated by Studio Art Quilt Associates juror Vicky Clark and the SJMQT curator of exhibitions, Amy DiPlacido, Guns: Loaded Conversations presents a powerful display of artworks and related in-gallery programming intended to promote conversation, understanding, and reflection on gun issues facing this country. To wrap up the exhibition on Sunday, July 15, 2018 at 3pm, SJMQT will present the lecture Bang! Bang! Discussing America’s Second Amendment by Stanford University Law Professor John J. Donohue III. Admission to this one-time special event will be $15 for SJMQT members and $25 for non-members.

Combining artistry, craft, and activism, Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA)—which is partnering with the Museum on Generation of Change: A Movement, Not a Moment—has the following mission objectives: to inspire high school students toward awareness of social injustices; to create young leaders; and to motivate action. The quilts on display, created by teenagers and crafted with the help of adult sewing mentors, remind the viewer that social injustices have a profound effect on all people, regardless of age. SJSA’s goal is to prepare students to solve issues in their communities through innovative thinking and action. By using textile art as a vehicle for personal transformation and community cohesion, SJSA empowers youth to become agents of social change.

“With these powerful exhibitions and programs,” says SJMQT director Nancy Bavor, “we hope to engage our visitors in conversations about the complex and controversial issue of the Second Amendment and gun use in this country.”

Quilts + Cash for Guns

Following the Guns: Loaded Conversations exhibition, SJMQT will be partnering with The Mayor’s Office, multiple City Council Districts, San Jose Police Department, and Police Foundation to sponsor a Gun Buy-Back Program entitled Quilts + Cash for Guns. The goal of the program is to reduce the number of firearms owned by civilians and provide gun owners with an opportunity to turn in guns without risk of prosecution. Participants will be able to turn in a gun and, in exchange, receive cash and a quilt. The specific date for the buy-back, scheduled for December 2018, will be announced at a later date.

SJMQT is calling on the community to create quilts that may be exchanged for guns. SJMQT is also accepting tax-deductible contributions to be used for the gun buy-back. For information about quilt donations or to make online contributions, community members can visit the SJMQT website. Any questions can be directed to

These exhibitions and related programs are supported in part by: the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; SVCreates, in partnership with the County of Santa Clara and California Arts Council; a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose; and the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association. San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles was awarded the prestigious SVCreates X Factor Grant to support exhibition and programming for Guns: Loaded Conversations.

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