A mother's Mission: Turning guns into art after losing son

- Pati Poblete is on a mission to turn guns into art.

"People are looking for ways to combat the darkness with a positive message," she said.

KTVU first profiled Poblete last year as she was launching a special project in Vallejo she calls Art of Peace.

Poblete is taking guns police confiscated by police or purchased in buy back programs, has them dismantled into parts, and sent to selected bay area artists to make sculptures.

"It tells me there is a hunger for people to tell their stories and to spread the message of peace. And that is what this message is about, turning something tragic into something positive," said Poblete.

Now Alameda County is joining in.

District Attorney Nancy O'Malley heard about the project and decided to take part.

The county's more than 700 confiscated guns, most used in crimes,  will also be turned into six smaller sculptures  made of gun parts, and one large one.

Artists in Alameda County are being invited to submit ideas that reflect the effects of gun violence. 

"In the old days we would just put them in the incinerator. As environmentalists we just don't want to put them into the air. And it occurred to us, what message can we make with these firearms," O'Malley said.

"I'm so incredibly touched and surprised," said Poblete.

The city of Richmond is also participating.

Poblete started the project in honor of her son Robby Poblete shot to death in Vallejo in 2014 during an apparent robbery. The project also includes job training programs in the building trade. Robby was a welder.

"You have to address the underlying issue which is why people are desperate. It is because of a lack of opportunity," said Poblete.

"She's an inspiring person. To take a personal tragedy and relate it not only to gun violence but to this pathway to careers," said O'Malley.

Poblete says her goal is to see the art of peace project grow county by county, state by state until reaches across the country.

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