Manhole Cover Project, 15 years later

September 1, 2011 - Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford has announced that it is working with artist Bradley McCallum to revisit a 1996 violence prevention project called “the Manhole Cover Project.” Fifteen years ago Bradley McCallum and the Wadsworth Atheneum, together with the Injury Prevention Center of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, worked with a team of local students to explore issues of gun violence in the city. A central part of the project was an exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum that involved casting, and presenting, of 228 custom-designed manhole covers. Each of the manhole covers designed by Bradley McCallum was emblazoned with the text MADE FROM 172 LBS OF YOUR CONFISCATED GUNS along with the Colt family motto Vincit Qui Patitur meaning He Who Perseveres Is Victorious, or He Who Suffers Conquers. These covers weighed 39,216 pounds, the exact equivalent to the weight of the 11,194 guns confiscated by Connecticut State Police since 1992 (1 January 1992 - 31 July 1996). Audio testimonies collected by five Hartford students featured individuals in Hartford whose lives had been profoundly affected by gun violence. These local voices formed a crucial part of the installation of the manhole covers at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Today, many of these covers sit on the streets of Hartford in front of schools, hospitals, and government buildings. Bradley McCallum and the Injury Prevention Center, where the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford is housed, are working to revisit the project and re-engage the community.