Homepage header image of origami folded boxes falling down with Soul Box Logo in the middle

Fold a Soul Box. Raise Awareness for Gun Violence Prevention.

The Soul Box Project is an art-based, community-building tool anyone can use to raise awareness of the U.S. gun violence epidemic.

People across the nation are folding paper origami Soul Boxes to represent the incomprehensible number of gunfire deaths and injuries. They are counting victims in memorial exhibits, offering caring solace through art-making and connecting with other initiatives working for safer, healthier communities.

The emotional power of the Soul Box Project is unlike any other gun violence prevention organization. Learn how people like you are growing this visually stunning call to action, one Soul Box at a time.

This year

0
2024 Deaths & Injuries to May 3*

men, women and children
have been

SHOT
in the U.S.


Half were killed.
54% of the deaths were suicides.

Gun violence, defense and accidents killed the rest.


Half were injured.
Many were disabled for life.

Countless others struggle with psychological trauma.


This is the
LOSS WE CARRY.

GVA-Stats-Bar-Chart-2023-YearEnd-Results

*Source: GunViolenceArchive.org (est. suicides)

Does Art Create Community and Hope in the Face of Gun Violence? Yes!

History reminds us of the potential for art to drive social change and save lives. Two powerful examples are the AIDS Memorial Quilt and The Soul Box Project.

In 1985 gay rights activist Cleve Jones amplified art as activism to honor people who died from AIDS. Family and friends memorialized loved ones with personalized quilts, displayed together to show the devastating impact of the epidemic.
[The art project] could be therapy, I hoped, for a community that was increasingly paralyzed by grief and rage and powerlessness. It could be a tool for the media, to reveal the humanity behind the statistics…. – Cleve Jones

Similarly, artist Leslie Lee responded to the U.S. gun violence epidemic in 2017 with The Soul Box Project. Thousands of people created unique origami boxes displayed together to remember gunfire victims.

I can state the statistic that more than 80,000 people are killed or injured by gunfire every year,* but we need to emotionally see and feel those lost lives in a tangible, visceral way. Emotion, not statistics, is what prompts action to save lives. – Leslie Lee

Both memorial projects exhibited dramatically on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. – nearly 40,000 AIDS Quilts in 1996 and 200,000 Soul Boxes in 2021.
Both projects…

  • remember and raise awareness by counting victims
  • offer caring solace to grieving survivors
  • inspire collaboration by connecting communities and activist groups

Read more about how ARTivism works in Those Who Came Before.

Our Network of Branches

Map showing Soul Box Project Branch locations

Find a Soul Box Branch near you—or start one in your city. Learn more

Organize an Exhibit or Event
Branches that have already “adopted” our original 370 panels of Soul Boxes, or DIY “backpacks”, may be able to lend their display materials to other organizations planning an exhibition or event.

Exhibits can consist of just a few hundred or many thousands of Soul Boxes. Whether in a museum, library, theater, gallery, art center, church, business or community center, no budget or venue is too small to provide an impact.

Events may include the calming, restorative activity of folding origami Soul Boxes. Then, display them to raise awareness by combining art with activism. Collaborate with other local organizations.

Experience Our Online Exhibit: This Loss We Carry
More than 30,000 Soul Boxes in this online exhibit represent people in the U.S. killed by gun violence, defense, accidents or suicide. All of these Soul Boxes were on display on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

The Soul Box Project

reveals the U.S. gunfire epidemic by counting and honoring victims.

Soul Box Project exhibits visually showcase the true extent of the U.S. gunfire epidemic. Each Soul Box holds a physical space for a life lost or injured by gun violence, defense, accident or suicide. People across the country have made and sent us thousands of hand-folded origami boxes:

0
Soul Boxes Made by People like YOU!

Each one counts. Each one is seen.

Each loss is felt.

The entire work of art, This Loss We Carry —representing the number of U.S. gunfire deaths and injuries in less than three years—was displayed in Washington, D.C. on October 16-17, 2021.

The display panels have now been distributed to Branches of The Soul Box Project nationwide to keep spreading the awareness of gunfire violence across the U.S.

Contact us to become a Branch for your area.

This Loss We Carry on the National Mall, D.C. – October 2021
200,000 Soul Boxes were exhibited as This Loss We Carry on the National Mall in Washington D.C. with 800 linear feet of 36,000 Soul Boxes on panels under a canopy, and bags of 164,000 Soul Boxes lining the walkways spanning the Mall.

The Soul Box Project

offers healing participation to those seeking solace.

Volunteers creating Art about gun violence

I had no inclination to make a box at all. I really was reluctant. Finally, I went through the process of just folding the paper. I couldn’t be in the emotional part and fold the box at the same time. It turned off that part of my brain to the grief that was so painful. I couldn’t find any other way.

There it was right in front of me, two pieces of paper – folding them. It’s beautiful.

~Andrew M., who lost his son to suicide | Watch the interview.


Making Soul Boxes was a meaningful and tender way to remember our loved ones, and it inspired some to realize more clearly the impact of gun violence.

~J.L.


It was a joy watching Angela making her Soul Boxes! After a few tears and sobs, she really felt good about what she was doing. Your project has accomplished not only awareness, but a comfort to those who have lost so many loved ones.

~Susie P.

The Soul Box Project

provides dramatic visual support for all initiatives working for a safer, more civil society.

Groups and organizations across the country have collaborated with our Project by using Soul Boxes to support their activism. Folding a Soul Box is a calming, restorative activity for groups or individuals. Add your locally-made Boxes to your own community exhibit or send them to a participating Branch of the Soul Box Project to effectively raise public awareness.

Soul Boxes remember individuals lost or injured by any circumstance of shooting: violence, defense, accident or suicide. Soul Boxes represent and honor people of every race, cultural background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religious or political affiliation.

We encourage any group looking for ways to dramatize their messages about reducing gun violence to start a branch in your community by organizing an event to create and exhibit Soul Boxes. Find out how and get inspiration on this website from the creative events and exhibits others have previously hosted. Then Contact us, or become a Branch of the Soul Box Project, to motivate action in your community.

Our Founding Supporters Have Our Deepest Appreciation

Soul Box Sponsor Logos