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June 07, 2024

Bells to ring in Philly on Friday afternoon as a call to address gun violence

Penn Live Arts is mourning the deaths of shooting victims by ringing bells for 5 minutes at more than 40 locations in the city.

Demonstrations Gun Violence
Penn Live bells Street View/Google Maps

Penn Live Arts is mourning Philadelphia's gun violence victims by ringing bells at more than 40 locations at 1 p.m. Friday. The sound installation will begin at the Annenberg Center, above, with remarks and prayers from members of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia.

Gun violence is not an issue exclusive to Philadelphia, but it is one familiar to many of its residents. To observe Gun Violence Awareness Day, Penn Live Arts is concluding its performance season Friday with a city-wide sound installation.

Titled "Toll the Bell," the installation consists of five minutes of simultaneous bell ringing and "other sound making" at 1 p.m. in more than 40 locations in Philadelphia, all marked on this map.

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"These five minutes represent the one in five Americans who have had a family member killed by a gun," Penn Live Arts writes in blog post.

The installation is a collaboration between Penn Live Arts and more than 50 community organizations in Philly, including the University of Pennsylvania's Office of the Chaplain, Interfaith Philadelphia and several faith-based groups. 

A vigil service at Penn Live Arts' Annenberg Center, at 3680 Walnut St., kicks off the installation. It will include prayers by members of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia.

Penn Live Arts, which is the University of Pennsylvania's home for the creative arts, calls the project a "sonic disruption" that is not meant to profile tragedy, but rather serve as a call to action to address the gun violence epidemic and to reflect on the victims of firearms-related crimes.

"Sound plays a profound role in our societal fabric. From signaling danger to uniting communities in celebration, sound is a powerful conduit for communication and solidarity," Penn Live Arts Executive and Artistic Director Christopher A. Gruits said. "Together, we hope to harness the evocative power of sound to uplift individuals and organizations dedicated to shaping a brighter future for all."

According to statistics from Philadelphia Police, there have been 911 reported shootings and 418 shooting victims in 2024, as of June 2. Year-to-date, this is a 36% and 44% decrease, respectively, compared to 2023.