KaleiMae Hunt is a 6th grader at Hunter Elementary School. Her submission to the Granite School District Cesar Chavez Social Justice Art Competition “Building Bridges of Peace” is a sculpture made of popsicle sticks. Though her work is finely crafted and evocative of the competition theme, her written artist statement stole my breath:
“A bridge connects two lone parts over a river or fast-moving water. Peace is formed by overcoming that barrier in life, between two people or groups. This could be forgiveness in a relationship, a crossing over to accept a different opinion, and finding common ground. It is a way to be united in traditions and cultures to create unity, love, and peace. To me a bridge could be the peace and comfort medical teams bring to those who suffer with pain or disease. A bridge is coming together.”
“Peace is formed by overcoming that barrier in life, between two people or groups.”
KaleiMae came to the interview with her mother, sister, and younger brother. She described the process of creating the piece (glueing popsicle sticks to cardboard for the bridge floor and then the sides and ceiling for support). She said she did it all the night before the entry was due, but that she could make this kind of timeline because she is well-versed in popsicle-stick sculpture.
Her mom confirmed that KaleiMae often creates works of art with popsicle sticks and other mediums. She noted that often KaleiMae’s work evolves around the theme of medical work. KaleiMae carries a dream of working in the NICU in her future; for me, it seems that for KaleiMae art opens the way for her to discover, express, refine, and hold on to that dream.
This article was written by Heather Francis, Dance Teaching Artist and Advocacy Director for UDEO (@heatherfrancisdances). Photos by Lisa Gemperline (@hgempphotography).