PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland artist is taking her message of gun violence awareness to Washington D.C.
The Soul Box Project collects and exhibits thousands of hand-folded origami boxes from across the U.S. to raise awareness of America’s gunfire epidemic.
Creator Leslie Lee is now planning to take 200,000 boxes to the country’s capitol for an installation at the National Mall. Each box represents a person who has been killed or injured by guns in the last three years alone in the U.S.
“We absolutely cannot let it become the new normal. And so that is one of the main purposes of the Soul Box Project, is to show how big of an epidemic this really is in Portland and throughout the whole country,” Lee told KOIN 6 News.
The 200,000 boxes are slated to be installed at the National Mall for an exhibit on October 16 and 17 and brought there by semi-trucks all the way from Portland about 10 days prior.
Lee said she was originally inspired to start the project in 2017 after a mass shooting in Las Vegas and trying to wrap her head around the scope of the gun violence epidemic in the U.S.
“Our brains aren’t wired to understand numbers like this, especially when they’re counting people who have been killed or injured by gun fire. And because I’m an artist, I’m a lifelong artist. I thought, what this issue needs is a visual.”
She said around 70,000 people are killed or injured from gun violence, defense, accident or suicide each year in the U.S.
Lee said she doesn’t need anymore boxes donated for the exhibit, but is accepting monetary donations to help cover the costs of making the DC installation happen, which she said is upwards of $100,000.