Artwork shifts focus to gun violence across country after Highland Park shooting

Three weeks ago, Jacqueline von Edelberg rallied for gun control at the Highland Park Art Center with her artwork, Enough.

“Enough” consists of 30,000 strips of fabric representing each child killed since the Sandy Hook massacre, with messages of support from people across the country.

Von Edelberg was at Sunset Woods Park in Highland Park last week, this time attending memorials and vigils for the victims of the July 4th parade shooting in Highland Park. With it came a new version of the piece, which allows those affected by the shooting to leave messages for themselves and others.

The offshoot project was launched after the city von Edelberg calls home was the site of a mass shooting that killed seven people and injured at least three dozen others. She said the most recent gun control rallies often ended with her and others talking about how “that could just as easily have been our kids.”

Von Edelberg said her children missed the hail of gunfire by “seconds.”

During a moment of silence, Jacqueline von Edelberg ties fabric with the names of the victims of the Highland Park shooting to part of her “Enough” artwork during a rally in Sunset Woods Park on Saturday.

Von Edelberg created the new piece after the parade shooting, adding the names of the seven victims during a gathering in Sunset Woods Park on Saturday.

The rally broadened its focus on gun violence from a local focus to nationwide issues: mass shootings, street shootings and suicides.

Anthony McIntyre, president and founder of the Antmound Foundation, an advocacy group that aims to reduce gun violence through direct community action, said the pain of gun violence is the same regardless of location.

He also said he was “disturbed” by the way gun violence was being handled in various areas.

Anthony McIntyre, founder and president of the Antmound Foundation, addresses the crowd at Sunset Woods Park.

Anthony McIntyre, founder and president of the Antmound Foundation, addresses the crowd at Sunset Woods Park.

“We have to recognize that this is not only a problem when it directly affects you,” McIntyre told the crowd. “If you don’t address the issues that are happening with guns in this country in communities like Waukegan, North Chicago and Zion, you’re always going to have those issues here in Highland Park.”

Representative Brad Schneider told the crowd that those affected by gun violence are “one community.”

“The grief we feel today is something we should feel every day,” Schneider said. “There’s shooting in the street, there’s shooting in homes with domestic violence. There are suicides. … Enough is enough.”

A message left by a student at Stoneman Douglas High School sits on the

A message left by a student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 were killed in a mass shooting in 2018, is on the “Enough” artwork at the Highland Park Art Center.

Between 2012 — when the Sandy Hook school shooting happened — and 2020, 28,229 children were killed by firearms, according to CDC data. No data is available for 2021 and 2022, but over the past decade, an average of 3,528 children have been killed each year by firearms.

Von Edelberg said the idea stemmed from her involvement at Nettelhorst Elementary School in Lake View, where a rainbow-colored “canvas fence” was created in 2009 ahead of the school community’s participation in the Pride Parade that year.

Since then, she has created similar artworks in support of reproductive rights, voting rights, and gun control—the latter of which featured First Lady Jill Biden and Chicago Mayor Laurie Lightfoot.

“If you take enough humble materials and wrap enough context around them, you can really affect massive change,” von Edelberg said.

A woman ties an orange ribbon to the

A woman ties an orange ribbon to a branch of the “Enough” artwork in Highland Park on Saturday.

Von Edelberg’s major exhibit on gun violence is now outside Art Center Highland Park, where it was installed June 16 after several trips around the country.

James Lynch, director of the Highland Park Art Center, said people stopped by to leave their own messages on the original “Enough” and read others.

“The arts lead the way” when it comes to healing, Lynch said. “We take our role in the community very seriously in what we can do and what we can do to help heal.”

Some believe that in order for healing to begin, there must first be a change.

Kathy Murphy, a Lake Bluff resident who was at Saturday’s event, left a message saying, “Our kids deserve to feel safe, it’s time for change and healing.”

“It’s time to take a stand and make big changes in the way we look at guns,” she said. “We can’t heal until that happens.”

She said the art was both “beautiful” and a “painful reminder” of the problem.

“I wish we didn’t have to,” Murphy said. “I wish we didn’t have to keep gathering hundreds and thousands of people to share a common grief, because that shouldn’t happen. We don’t have to keep going through this.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.