EL PASO, Texas -- Healing through music and art. That's the idea behind a new music and art traveling installation that currently sits outside of the El Paso Botanical Gardens in El Paso's Upper Valley.
Local artist Laura Turon and musician Mick Heron teamed up to create 'Tribute 23' - an interactive installation that commemorates the anniversary of the Walmart shooting that took place on August 3, 2019.
Heron was living in Los Angeles when he heard the tragic news of the shooting.
"I was at a loss for words just like everyone else was and as a musician writing music is a way I can express myself," said Heron.
Two days after the shooting he decided to write a song titled, 'Never Gonna Fade.' The song is dedicated it to the victims of the August 3rd shooting.
“I put myself in the shoes of these people and these lyrics came out in the voice of them,” explained Heron.
But he wanted to do more than just release a song in honor of the shooting victims.
“I ended up meeting Laura by chance at my work. We connected and then we started talking about the idea to kinda bridge her existing creation of the abstract art and it really blended well with what I was trying to do,” said Heron.
“The whole point of this is for all of us to heal and if we’re holding on to something to write it out and let it out,” said Laura Turon who serves as the launch artist for 'Tribute 23.'
"People are gonna be walking through this immersive experience where they can participate and get their sticker peel it off and put it up on the wall wherever they like. From there they can write something, whatever message they want to share,” said Turon.
Those who participate in the project will be required to wear a mask. They will be greeted by an organizer who will ask them for their name and they will then be put on a waiting list. Organizers will send them a text when it is their turn to experience the exhibit. This is done to prevent a line from forming outside and to keep social distancing rules in place.
Once they approach the art installation, they will be provided with hand sanitizer, a clean marker and a sticker which they will use to write their message of hope on.
Before entering the art installation, visitors will be asked to take off their shoes and once they enter Heron's song, 'Never Gonna Fade' will be playing throughout the exhibition. Lyrics to his song will also be framed and placed in the front and the back of the installation for people to read as they listen.
“One of the things were doing is for people to walk in and emerge themselves in the music. As they walk over towards the end of the bus the music starts getting louder and louder,” said Turon.
For both Heron and Turon, this project is about providing their community with a safe space to heal together.
“It’s a safe space where people are gonna feel like they belong. They’re not gonna be judged and they can write that message anonymously. The idea would be to fill up this entire bus with messages of healing, hope and strength," said Turon.
The art installation will be open to the public Monday from 6 to 10 pm, but this will not be the only opportunity for locals to check out 'Tribute 23.'
Heron and Turon plan on taking this installation to 22 more communities to give people a chance to share their messages.
You can stay updated on new locations by clicking on their website: tribute23.com/
Other artists who would like to collaborate and become a part of the 'Tribute 23' project can send an email to organizers through their website as well.
And if you are not able to make it to the art installation, organizers are providing an opportunity for people to share their messages virtually through their website's community message section.