Families mourning loss of loved ones to gun violence gather for project ‘Who Will Be Next?”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Friends and family who have been impacted by gun violence gathered at Rochester Contemporary Art Center to remember their loved ones and take part in an ongoing art project dedicated to gun violence victims called ‘Who Will Be Next?”

Martin Krafft said that creating the project was the way he and his collaborator Elena Makansi found to engage with the issue of gun violence and create a place for families to mourn.

“We started making connections with people in the community who had been harmed by gun violence and discovered that the act of tracing their faces was really powerful,” Krafft said.

Using a lightbox, family members traced a picture of their loved one, which will appear outside on the art installation.

Marcella Cunningham joined others outside the center on Friday evening for a vigil dedicated to gun violence victims.

“The people who are here supporting us, it means a lot to me. A lot to raise awareness. Because even though my son is gone, I’m out here keeping his name alive,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said that Oct. 16, 2016 is day she will never forget.

“He was outside speaking to some other gentleman and gunfire broke out. He turned to run toward his car and was shot in the back of the head,” Cunningham said.

It’s the day Cunningham lost her son, Lewis Puryear Jr., to gun violence.

“So he had a 6-year-old son when he passed away. His name is Lewis as well. yes, Lewis the third, yep. So a lot of this I do for him. For my grandson. Ya know, Lewis loved him, they had good relationship,” Cunningham said.

Which is why she spent the evening outside Rochester Contemporary Art Center remembering her son through” Project “Who Will Be Next?”

Families mourning the loss of a loved one can still participate in the project by bringing a picture of the loved one to the Rochester Contemporary Art Center.

The installation will run through Nov. 15.