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ART REVEALING THE GUNFIRE EPIDEMIC.
MAKE A BOX. SEND IT IN. IT COUNTS.
The Soul Box Project has a new home! 
In February we launched our first sustaining donor campaign to fund a lease and pay for insurance, utilities and other expenses for a dedicated workspace. That workspace is now a reality! 

At the beginning of March we moved into our new space in the Multnomah Arts Center, one of the largest comprehensive community arts centers in the nation. Our lease is part of the Portland Parks and Recreation Affordable Arts Space Pilot Program. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to apply for these sunny, spacious workspaces in a perfect location, for a rent well below market-value. 
 
Many thanks to Ellen Stearns, Mark Mandel, Richard Carroll and Dennis Meiners, our muscle crew on moving day. Here they transform the former preschool art building into our Soul Box HQ. 
Less than 24 hours after move in, the workspace is abuzz with volunteers stitching panels together for our upcoming exhibit in the Multnomah Arts Center Gallery 
Thanks also to the good neighbors on NextDoor.com, who answered our call for ping pong tables. The tables provide space for sorting the 45,000 Soul Boxes that have been sent in so far. They also give us a big, flat space to cut mesh for the backs of our Soul Box panels. We still have a wish list of items for our workspace -- like more folding chairs and an upright vacuum.
As the opening date of the Multnomah Arts Center Gallery exhibit draws near, the activity level rises. Volunteers engineer the structure as others continue to stitch the more than 4,000 Soul Boxes that will make up the exhibit, along with panels from a kindred program, Vision Quilt.  
The exhibit moves from rendering to reality. With the added space, volunteers are able to stage the exhibition columns and netting. Leslie sketched the design on the left over a year ago. It finally has room to take shape!

Stop by to visit and volunteer. You can find us at 7740 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, Oregon 97219 in Cottages 1 & 2. (Entrance gate directly across from Starbucks is unlocked during the MAC's open hours.) Watch our website and Facebook community for our open hours or just pop in if you see we are there.  
A Note from Soul Box Founder, Leslie Lee
When I started the Soul Box Project 18 months ago people told me they were relieved to have something they could DO to ease their distress about the nation's gunfire epidemic and call others to action. The Boxes poured in. They filled our living room and what used to be my painting studio. They filled a good friend's basement and a 25-foot storage unit.

I knew the Project needed more physical space to fulfill its mission. What I didn’t realize was how my psychological space was also becoming overwhelmed.

The moment we moved into our new workspace I felt a light in my heart equal to the sunshine streaming through the windows. That light carried memories of how much I loved going to Multnomah Grade School in this very facility 60 years ago. Here was space to grow: shelves for storage and room for volunteers to comfortably work -- not just one or two helpers, but six, eight, twelve at a time, each of us knowing that art has the power to affect social change. It's what I’d envisioned over a year ago.

However, what I had not envisioned was how much all this would cost.

I am grateful to the Fetzer Institute and Oregon Community Foundation for start-up funds and to the MAC for granting our application for an affordable space. And we would never be where we are now without individual supporters -- including those who have stepped up during our Sustaining Donation Campaign to help cover the Project's new lease obligations. To date those pledges cover less than half of the cost, but I think back to when we also had only a few thousand Soul Boxes. You came through with 36,000 (to reveal the 2018 U.S. gun death toll) at the Oregon State Capitol. I have to believe the financial supporters will come as well.

About 1,500 of you receive this newsletter. Each of you cares about our nation's gunfire epidemic. This is your time to act. Your financial support is as important as folding Soul Boxes. I’m asking you to pledge $5, $10, $15 a month, or perhaps much more, to keep this Project stable. Help us take 200,000 Soul Boxes across the country to the National Mall in 2020 to affect the changes we need for a safer, more civil society.

I look forward to hearing from you,

~ Leslie

P.S. I will be on Portland's AM Northwest Friday morning KATU Channel 2 at 9 am. Tune in!

Become a Sustaining Donor
Soul Boxes Support Firearm Safety in Washington State
The Soul Box Project introduced our new tabletop display at the Firearm Safety Giveaway event in Burien, WA sponsored by CHI Franciscan, Kaiser Permanente and The Alliance for Gun Responsibility and presented by Highline Schools Foundation. On March 23, volunteers distributed 234 locking devices after each recipient was trained and demonstrated skill in using the devices properly.
Upcoming Events
April 5 – 30: Art Revealing the Gunfire Epidemic, Multnomah Arts Center, Portland, OR

May 7: NAMI Nevada 2019 State Conference, Reno, NV
May 10 – 12: Route91Strong’s 24 Hours of Country Music, Las Vegas, NV
 
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