Paintings part of an exhibition to honor the experiences and voices of young people.
[See the two portraits that appeared in the Winter 2013 UU World: Meg and EJ.]
For me this work is about our first UU Principle: to honor the inherent worth of every individual. Frequently our culture marginalizes adolescents and young adults (especially those from lower socioeconomic brackets). Folks talk about how important it is to listen to them and to mentor them, but when it comes to actually doing that there is not much follow through.
My whole point has been: let’s honor the voices of young people this age. What matters to them? What are they thinking about? What are their passions? What are they facing? What can we do in communities to prompt and share stories?
In addition to the seventeen oil portraits, the exhibit includes sound portraits created from interviews, and, in some cases, mixed with music chosen by each subject. The audio is available in the gallery through cell phone technology as well as on the internet. The installation is scheduled to travel through New England and will be used as a springboard for activities in each community where it is exhibited, through the schools and through arts organizations, story-telling workshops, parallel art exhibits, and performances.
The exhibition will be on display at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont, January 10 through April 14, 2014.
This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of UU World (pages 20-21) with two illustrations, Meg and EJ.
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Kate Gridley has lived and painted full time in Middlebury, Vermont, since 1991. She is a member of Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, where she and her husband co-lead the youth group.
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