Three hundred thirty-one.
It might not seem that large a number, but it’s enormous in terms of what it represents — the number of murders that were committed in Philadelphia in 2012.
And visitors to the “One Year” exhibit during the 2013 Fringe Festival this month can literally see how big that number is. Five local artists, including Karen McLaughlin of Holmesburg, have created 331 handcrafted wire vessels to represent the city’s murders.
The sculptures will be set up to cast dynamic shadows against fabric backdrops in the Sanctuary at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., when the exhibit opens Sept. 7.
McLaughlin, along with Eastern Montgomery County residents Janice Hayes-Cha, Brenda Howell, Julie Mann and Kimberly Mehler, are members of the Mothers’ Cooperative in the Arts — MamaCITA — and they made the vessels in partnership with the violence prevention organization Mothers in Charge.
All MamaCITA members are professional artists who are mothers. All Mothers in Charge members lost children to murder, McLaughlin said in an Aug. 29 phone interview.
Scores of people helped to create the wire sculptures through artist-led workshops in 2012.
When the exhibit opens Sept. 7 and again on Sept. 21, there will be short performances of spoken word, singing and drumming. Some of the mothers who lost children will read poetry about their children or their murders, McLaughlin said.
The idea is to reach the public consciousness through emotion, she said.
McLaughlin said Philadelphia murders have gone down more than 40 percent so far in 2013.
That stat fits in with the exhibit, she said.
“Our performance is about hope,” she said. “We’re going in the right direction this year.”
Admission to “One Year” is free. Hours are 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 7-8, 12-15 and 19-20. Live performances are at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 7 and 21. ••