HIGHLOW Project Street Exhibit in Downtown Montpelier
MONTPELIER, VT—A deeply introspective exhibit into the lives of Vermont’s at-risk youth will be on display through October 12, 2011 in downtown Montpelier. Called HIGHLOW, the large scale photographs pasted onto building exteriors are paired with audio components available through a toll-free number.
Photographer Ned Castle partnered with at-risk, runaway and homeless youth in Vermont to produce an illustration of the experiences that have shaped their lives. The HIGHLOW Exhibit pairs 12 sets of large-scale diptychs with recorded personal stories contrasting high and low moments during their lives. HIGHLOW t has been exhibited throughout Vermont in various gallery settings. The Street Version brings the photographs and audio narrations “onto the street”. Youth from the Basement Teen Center of WCYSB and the Northfield Teen Center had the opportunity to curate the exhibit by choosing the locations and placement of the images within downtown Montpelier. Installation was executed by the youth curators working alongside staff, community partners, and other volunteers. It also allows for the local VCRHYP agency to use the exhibit as an outreach tool to facilitate youth access to services, and tell their stories to a broader audience.
Calvin Smith, VCRHYP Director, reflects on the evolution of the project into the public art realm: “By extending the exhibit to outdoor spaces on buildings, parks, and along streets, all members of the community are able to view the imagery and experience the audio narration. This street-based concept is only possible through a collaborative community effort with support from youth, community organizations, and property owners.”
The project is presented by The Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP), and the Washington County Youth Service Bureau/Boys & Girls Club, in partnership with Montpelier Alive.
“We wanted to help bring this project to downtown Montpelier because it utilizes streetscape in an innovative way,” said Phayvanh Luekhamhan, executive director of Montpelier Alive. “Montpelier is a great place for public art. And HIGHLOW goes a step further by encouraging conversations of a topic that’s not normally in the public discourse.”
Ned Castle is a native Vermonter whose photographic work has ranged from documentary and ethnographic to conceptual art. A graduate of Williams College, Castle attended photography schools in Florence, Italy and New York City. His projects, including In Their Own Words and Indigenous Expression, have been exhibited across Vermont. The Vermont Coalition for Runaway & Homeless Youth Programs (VCRHYP) is a statewide coalition of 13 community agencies working with at-risk, runaway and homeless youth, providing crisis-stabilization, shelter programs, and family support services.