Kaleidoscope: Art for the Sky: Video goes to the heart of banning assault weapons

ART from the sky: 50 local residents wearing red and pink huddle to form a beating heart on the lawn of Mt. Hood Town Hall in “A Heart 15” gun control statement video.

Photo by Art For The Sky
ART from the sky: 50 local residents wearing red and pink huddle to form a beating heart on the lawn of Mt. Hood Town Hall in “A Heart 15” gun control statement video.

“We’ll all get into the heart and beat.”

That was the key instruction for “A Heart 15,” the latest Art for the Sky installation to be done in Hood River County.

The video, calling for a ban on assault weapons, is online depicting the work, done in September on the main field at Mt. Hood Town Hall. A drone camera records an AR-15 assault rifle created in dark mulch material as it is raked up into a heart and filled with 50 red-attired humans, who then crouch and stand, crouch and stand in repetition, to symbolize a beating heart. It took the group 45 minutes, including one run-through.


ART For the Sky raking crew starts to dismantle the assault weapon.

Art for the Sky founder Daniel Dancer of Mosier created the image, and worked with artist Karen Harding of the Mama Bears, a local peace and social justice advocacy group, and town hall coordinator Kristin Reese, to secure the location and the people needed.

Dancer states on Facebook, “Transforming an AR-15 into a beating heart creates a ‘field’ for a ban on assault weapons to actually happen. The idea arose after the Parkland shooting. By your sharing, this video will inspire young and old to get out and vote for candidates in favor of major gun control legislation.”

Dancer had approached some local schools about staging the project (he has done Art for the Sky at several schools in the county over the years), but said there was resistance to the project.

“In every school there are people of varying points of view,” Dancer acknowledged. “I realized this has gotta be a private deal, and I heard about Mama Bears, and I knew Karen, and that was the integral thing that made it happened.


Drove records the reveal. Watch near the end of the video as all heads are down — except a boy sneaks a peak skyward.

“It’s about creating a field for really difficult thing to happen, for the never-before seen to take place, kind of create the energy for it to happen in art first,” he said.

In the video, 16 people with rakes, shovels, two with wheelbarrows enter from all directions and start raking up the gun outline. Then more people, also dressed in shades of red and pink, rush from the perimeter, and all huddle into the heart shape. Dancer added music by Alkali and Geoffrey Oyema, and child and adult voice-over: “No More.”

To help in the heart beat, a drum accompaniment on scene was originally planned, and one participant suggested “a military cadence,” but after a rehearsal, both ideas were jettisoned in favor of simpler verbal “up-down” commands.

Dancer estimated he has done “a few hundred, I don’t even know,” Art for the Sky pieces. Most recently, he created one with hundreds of people as a robin pulling a worm from the ground in Wisconsin.

“My goal is to do one in each of the 50 states, and I have seven left,” he said, including his next four in Nevada, South Dakota, Minnesota and Texas. In Austin, he will create Willie Nelson’s guitar with notes coming out of its famous ragged soundhole.

VIEWING ‘A Heart 15’

See the one-minute video at Vimeo.com/292249495.

It has the title “NEVERMORE” and can also be found on the Art for the Sky Facebook page; a Google search for the video produces, ironically, a country song called “Come And Take It” extolling the Second Amendment and bearing the same stark rifle outline seen at the start of “A Heart 15.”

“We first thought to call it ‘Gun to heart,’ but that seemed too poisonous, so we thought of the AR-15, and so, ‘A Heart 15’,” Dancer said.

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