The Common Good

Swords into plowshares, Guns into "Peace Angels"

"Angel of Peace" sculpture by artist Lin Evola, made from melted-down guns.

Last Mother's Day, the Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles ran a gun buy-back event where people could exchange firearms for grocery coupons -- no questions asked. The VPC collected more than 2,700 guns that day.

Now some of them are being "up-cycled" -- melted down and re-purposed -- as works of art.

One such guns-to-art creation is the "Angel of Peace" sculpture by artist Lin Evola, founder of the Peace Angels Project in California. Founded by Evola in 1992, Peace Angels "uses art as a tool for peace, working with schools and organizations at both a local and global level."

Evola has created peace angels for Los Angeles, Jerusalem, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Most recently, the New York City Police Department donated nearly 1,000 firearms -- handguns, shotguns and assault rifles -- seized during arrests or donated in buy-back programs similar to the Mother's Day event in Los Angeles, to Evola's group.

The Big Apple guns will be shredded, melted down, and forged into a 5-foot-tall Angel of Peace.

Evola's first peace angel - a 13-foot statue -- stood guard for eight months in 2001 outside Nino's Restaurant in New York City, not far from Ground Zero.

Nino's owner, Nino Verdone, told the New York Daily News that the angel gave a solace to many of the first responders to the 9/11 attacks.

"It was a guardian angel," Verdone said.

Cathleen Falsani is Web editor and director of new media for Sojourners. She is author of the new book BELIEBER!: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber.

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