The SOUL BOX Project
Can art drive social change?
We know it can and does, and together we can do it again.
Can you envision the number 119,833? That many grains of sand? that many balloons? that many people?
How about that many victims of gun violence in the U.S. since 2014?*
The number has become so big and the incidents so common we may have slipped into looking away just to avoid the enormity. When I first caught a glimpse of the Los Vegas shooting I thought “Oh dear, I don’t want to read this again“, and went on with my day. Later when I learned this incident was a massacre I woke in the night thinking “What can we DO?”
I am inviting others to join me in creating small lidded boxes to represent the number of gun violence victims. These would be simple paper origami “Soul Boxes” decorated by the maker and sent to a collection point. When the number made grows large enough the boxes would be collected for display in public places (a library? a shopping mall? the Halls of Congress? An NRA convention?).
The idea is to make visual the number of lives stricken by guns – a huge mass of little boxes made by people who want to call attention to this issue. If these displays cause a few people go home and lock up their guns, or write their representatives, or talk to their kids about anger management the Soul Box Project will have succeeded.
Big Idea? Sure. All big ideas start somewhere and you could be part of this start-up. Once enough boxes are coming in there will need to be decisions about the Project’s parameters and funding but right now all that’s needed are two squares of paper and some time to contemplate lost lives.
How to participate
To keep it simple we have chosen a lidded box 3 x 3 x 11/2 inches of because it can be made from an 81/2 inch square of paper. Regular old copy paper will work but slightly heavier stock such as construction paper will make a sturdier box. Here is a very clear video about how to fold your origami box. To make the bottom half just reduce the size of the square to 81/4 inches so it will fit inside the box lid.
How you decorate your box is entirely up to you. Be as elaborate or minimal as you
wish. Keep the reason in mind and let your emotions lead the way. Perhaps you would like
to enclose something meaningful inside the box; it will never be opened so make it as personal
as you wish. Before you send your boxes please stuff them with tissue paper or something
similar to make them less likely to be squashed.
Please mail your boxes to:
The SOUL BOX Project
PO Box 19900
Portland Oregon, 97280
If you mail the box “as is” it will cost about $3 to send from anywhere in the US, but you can
send up to 13 oz. for about $4, so make several Soul Boxes and pop them into a cereal box
or something similarly lightweight to mail. You can find the postage rates at USPS and it’s
OK to put several stamps anywhere on your box if they add up to the required postage.
There is no need to go to the Post Office, unless you want interesting stamps for a single
Soul Box – your carrier will pick up anything under 13 oz.
What happens next?
Application for nonprofit status
Website for the SOUL BOX Project
Social media call to action
Blog to share progress and invite suggestions
Grant proposal and/or Kickstarter campaign
Display design and engineering
Searches for display venues
…but none of this can happen without a flood of Soul Boxes. As in thousands of them.
Please send yours and spread the word. Thank you!
Please consider a donation to this project launch. PO boxes and Web hosting are not free.