NORTH ADAMS, MASS. – Curated by students in Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) “Advanced Museum Studies” class, a new exhibition, “Bullet Points,” will open on Thursday, April 28, at MCLA’s ExPRESS Gallery, 49 Main St.

An opening reception for this annual, student-curated exhibition of MCLA’s “Advanced Museum Studies” class will take place on Thursday, April 28, 5-7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

The 300-square-foot installation features a golden, elaborately woven carpet made of bullets by New York-based artist Raul Martinez. The piece, a focal point of the exhibit, is surrounded by interactive opportunities developed by the “Advanced Museum Studies” students as a means to invite discussion about the complex issues with regard to guns.

Throughout this spring semester, students worked with Professor Laura Thompson, MASS MoCA’s director of education and the curator of Kidspace. As part of this course – which focused on material culture – students explored the many ways that objects are arranged and interpreted in museums, and how that might influence viewers’ understandings of art, history and social concerns.

As a result, a thesis arose: issues with bullets and guns are complex, emotionally charged, multifaceted and ingrained.

“Our class challenge was to curate an exhibition that would not offer solutions, take one point of view, or try to form consensus. Rather, we were looking to design an exhibition that would allow for co-searching, collaboration and participation,” Thompson said.

Student goals for the exhibition include the avoidance of concentrating on a pro-gun or an anti-gun perspective; instead taking a neutral stance.

According to the students, “We believe that an open-minded atmosphere where multiple perspectives can be heard will bring us closer to a much needed questioning process. We believe that art can be a catalyst for questioning, and it can bring together various ideas, opinions, and perspectives.”

Born in Madrid, Spain, and trained as a lawyer, Martinez was an artist fellow as part of Assets for Artists, a professional development program for creative entrepreneurs housed at MASS MoCA. 

During his residency, Martinez created a carpet from more than 10,000 40-caliber bullet casings that he collected from local shooting ranges. Using the 48-inch loom at Makers’ Mill on Main Street, he spent two weeks weaving them into the carpet.

Martinez met with MCLA “Advanced Museum Studies” students to discuss his process and why he chose to work with bullet casings.

Martinez told the students, “As an artist, I respond to what I see, and guns are part of everyday American life and popular culture. They have a constant presence in American cinema and news broadcasts, they are important in rock, country music and hip-hop. You can buy them at Walmart, and find special sales on ammunition on Black Friday. As a lawyer, I found gun regulation and the easy availability of guns rather fascinating.”

Visitors to the gallery may add their comments to a designated area, be asked questions that will prompt discussions, and take home messages of peace by planting “seed bombs.”

“Bullet Points” will be on view through May 22, at ExPress Gallery, 49 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is free

MCLA ExPRESS is a program of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC).

For more information, (413) 664 8718, or go to For more information about DownStreet Art events and the BCRC, go to

MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center (BCRC) provides opportunities, resources, and support to the Northern Berkshire Community. BCRC brings together the Northern Berkshire, MCLA and greater creative communities through its cultural programming including: MCLA Gallery 51, DownStreet Art, B-HIP, and MCLA Presents! The BCRC promotes, facilitates and encourages a dialogue to foster a sustainable creative community.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

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