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One million artistic bones to focus attention on genocide

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SALT LAKE CITY — As craft projects go, making human bones out of old newspapers and masking tape isn't exactly run of the mill. But children, their parents and volunteers at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art spent part of their Saturday afternoon doing just that.

The second Saturday of each month at the museum is a Family Art Saturday, a free event where kids and their parents can explore the exhibits and participate in hands-on art projects.

Volunteers at November's Family Art Saturday participated in a nation-wide fundraising project called One Million Bones. The project is meant to raise awareness and money for genocide victims.

"The goal is to raise awareness about genocide that happens specifically in Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burma," said Marcela Torres, One Million Bones project director at the museum. "The bones are a symbol for both the loss of lives and hope for the survivors."

For every bone that is made one dollar is being donated to organizations rebuilding in countries affected by genocide.

"Through making an art project people are actually helping out by generating money for these organizations," Torres said. "Each state is supposed to create seven to 10,000 bones, our goal is 10,000. We are working with the Leonardo and different elementary schools to create these 10,000 bones."

The Leonardo Museum is holding bone-making events on Dec. 15 and 16 at 209 E 500 South in Salt Lake.

"Service has always been very important to me and I always loved helping other people," Karen Gourley, a volunteer at UMOCA said. "So any chance I've been able to find to reach out and use my volunteer services is just something I enjoy doing.

Gourley, a medical assistant student at Cole Holland Training Center, got to the event early so she would be ready to help kids and families when they arrived.

"I think this art museum is very interesting and I am able to communicate with people, that is why I come here," said Janran Jia, a University of Utah student and bi-monthly volunteer at the museum.

Jia, from China, is double majoring in mass communications and art history.

"Salt Lake City is a good place for study," Jia said. "It's a very quiet and safe city, and the price of food and tuition isn't very expensive so I can afford them."

Twitter: @FinleyJY