Sewickley gallery hosts exhibit focused on gun violence

"In Defense of Assault Weapons: 'They Are a Lot of Fun to Shoot'" is a mixed-media screen print by California artist Betsy Kellas appearing in the new Sweetwater center for the Arts exhibition on gun violence.

SEWICKLEY — For the first time since the pandemic hit, the Sweetwater Center for the Arts will host an in-person art exhibition.

And you could say it’s returning with a bang, presenting “Trigger Warning,” a gallery filled with artwork addressing the effects of gun violence in America.

 The opening reception lasts from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The Sewickley arts center, at 200 Broad St., will offer “Trigger Warning” through April 24.

Fifteen artists from throughout the country, including some from Pittsburgh, comment artistically on gun violence, which Sweetwater’s website says “is an epidemic and a public health crisis.

 “Yet as a country we cannot agree on any solutions. As we debate, more guns are made, sold and used, and people continue to perish,” the website says. “The emotional toll on our society is strong and finds its way into the works of artists trying to grapple with the issues surrounding gun violence.”

The exhibition originally was scheduled to open in May 2020, and was postponed twice due to COVID-19.

In-person visitors to Sweetwater will find new rules prompted by the pandemic. People will be guided through one entrance and out another to prevent congregating. Visitors will be limited to eight at a time.

“We are so excited to open our gallery again for in-person viewing. Over the past year we have had a lot of time to prepare to ensure our reopening would be safe for viewers and staff,” Alexandra Watrous, Sweetwater gallery manager and curator, said.

“We are also presenting the ‘Trigger Warning’ exhibition virtually for anyone who still might not feel comfortable visiting in person,” Watrous said. “The exhibition can be viewed virtually at www.SweetwaterArtCenter.org/See-The-Art

“We are very pleased to open our 2021 season with this thought-provoking exhibition,” Watrous said. “We will be presenting exhibitions in our gallery throughout the rest of the year. You can see what we have coming up next on our website’s upcoming exhibitions page.”

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