If that title comes off too strong, you're probably not my audience for this post. That's not to say you won't read it, but it is to say that you already get it.

My son goes to an elementary school that teaches Cognitive Guided Instruction. CGI in this instance, refers to a child's intuitive approach to problem solving. I first became familiar with this methodology when my son shared with me his math worksheets in which he was drawing bags of apples in order to multiple how many he had in total. 

I was thinking about this ability to problem solve through visualization as I was placing 164 balloons within the Des Moines Social Club last night. Perhaps part of our problem, as a society of adults, is that we've forgotten how to problem solve through visualization. To those who don't get it, let me help you see:


Are you a mother? Is your wife or partner? There's a funny thing that happens when you became one. You sway. You hold your baby in the safety of your arms, and you sway. Back and forth, in what may have started as a move to a lullaby, but forever remains long after the music is gone. You never stop swaying once you start.

The first balloon swayed when placed. I visualized a mother, that never again gets to hold her baby, never again gets to sway. Did you know 20 six year olds were shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012? Twenty mothers who swayed now stand still. Twenty six year olds, twenty tiny bodies, were shot between three and eleven times each. Can you visualize that?

Can you still tell me we don't need stricter gun laws?

The interesting thing about balloons is they exhibit anthropomorphic qualities, much like that sway. When they're held within a bag, if the bag is not too heavy, they begin to float away, almost ghost-like. The ribbons attached to keep them from floating away is made to curl, not unlike how my daughter wraps her tiny hands around my finger, since she has since birth. Some balloons, for seemingly no reason, lean on one another, even though 162 of them stand still. 


Will this installation save one more child or teacher from being gunned down in the safety of a school? No. Will this installation change our gun laws? No. Could our Republican representatives? Yes.

Call your representatives. Write more letters. Show up in ways that are right for you. And don't stop visualizing positive change. 

The answer comes when we consider what pressure is will be installed through March 18 in Viaduct Gallery at the Des Moines Social Club. An artist talk will be held alongside Nancy Gebhart, Curator of ReAct Gallery on March 8 at 7PM.