YOUTH CARE ARTS / End Game
The exhibition End Game is a collaboration with artist Abe Kimball, Youth Care Arts, and SpyHop. The Youth Care Arts program is a diverse group of artists, educators, and therapists, organized to provide social practice art projects as an experiential record and bridge between youth in care and Utah communities. They facilitate interactive community art projects in detention centers, rehabilitation centers, and group homes for youth typically in the state’s custody. End Game is part of Granary Arts ongoing Artist & Community collaborative projects in the CCA Christiansen cabin gallery.
End Game is a visual record of work from contributing youth in care throughout the state of Utah. Youth chose and decorated chess pieces resembling three characters in their life: the self, the familiar, and the other. Chess pieces were then given color and personality beyond the common binary of black and white. The age-old game of chess encourages resilience and use of strategy. It reminds viewers about choice and action while considering positions of power and glory, and asks viewers to recognize our choices and actions during loss, when others are progressing. Everyone is compelled to consider their end game. Youth in care participants collaborated on this project and their insights are visible within the work. Viewers are invited to respond to the same questions in this interactive installation.
Artist Abe Kimball, the lead collaborator, says the motivation for the Youth Care Arts program is communities. A one-time director of a residential treatment center, Kimball explained his experience in trying to build treatment centers in Utah communities, “Years ago, we approached several communities around Utah but ran into a lot of intolerance.” This was upsetting to Kimball because many of the kids he helped had come from these very places. He states, “I realized that our communities can sometimes be blind to these programs.” In an effort to bring awareness to the problem, Kimball was inspired by ‘The Clothesline Project’. He began exhibiting a very modest collection of student artwork for the local community. “Back then I just wanted people to see beauty in the work, but quickly realized that’s not enough to understand struggling kids.” He began including therapists and other artists for input on bigger ideas. He clarifies, “We try hard to get students to make something, anything that sends a message that the public can empathize with and respond to in turn.” Thanks to the generous work of Adam Sherlock and partnership with Spy Hop Productions these experiential projects have also found a voice through film and the internet at www.youthcreatehere.org
Youth Care Arts funding is directly linked to the USBE Youth in Custody office, Spy Hop Productions, the Utah Department of Human Services, and the Annual Promising Youth Conference of Agencies and Organizations.
About the Artist
Abe Kimball is the Art Director of the Youth Care Arts program and serves and works with the North Sanpete Arts Council. He is currently teaching at North Sanpete Middle School and Snow College, and received an MFA in art and anthropology from Brigham Young University. He has been entrenched in the arts since a small child, watching his artist father work in lithography. As an artist, Abe describes the dimensions of his art as bipolar; much of his time is absorbed in the flat world of printmaking, the other part in the dizzying world of social practice installations. He favors the work of Surrealists and Dadaists, but his compositions are more like a fictitious chronicle of vintage peoples and their obsolete technologies. He sees his task, as addressing cultural leftovers, he says, “better than anything else, our stuff suggests our attitudes about how we relate to the world.” He currently resides with his wife and children in the rural township of Indianola, Utah.