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Beating Weapons Into Artworks

Sculpture by SFCC forging student John Cordova

Since last spring, Santa Fe Community College has had access to a stockpile of decommissioned firearms.  Using the college's forging and welding facilities, students and faculty in the Art Department have transformed these metal parts into sculpture and jewelry, works of art that will be displayed this month and then auctioned off to benefit New Mexicans To Prevent Gun Violence and SFCC scholarships. 

The Guns to Art Benefit show runs November 7-17 at form & concept in Santa Fe; a reception and live auction takes place on November 17.

The forging class at the college is led by noted Santa Fe sculptor Jeremy Thomas.  "Iron is a mobile material," says Thomas. "It can transfer from one object to another, and deny its past usage and become something completely different.  It's the old idea of weapons to plowshares."

In a more complete version of the interview, Thomas shares a discussion he had with his SFCC students about how they might want to make art with decommissioned guns.  "Any material you use brings the baggage and history of that material with it, whether you like it or not.  So it depends how much of that baggage you want to use."


Spencer Beckwith reports on the arts for KUNM. For ten years, until March of 2014, Spencer was the producer and host of KUNM's "Performance New Mexico," a weekday morning arts program that included interviews with musicians, writers and performers. Spencer is a graduate of the acting program at the Juilliard School, and, before moving to New Mexico in 2002, was for many years a professional actor based in New York City.