May-June Artist: Hugh Merrill with Janet Kaufman

Too see photographs of the work, final show, and art talk of Mr. Merrill’s residency, please click here.


Artist Hugh Merrill, a professor at The Kansas City Art Institute, will be at Surel’s Place from mid-May through mid-June, collaborating with Janet Kaufman, professor (at the University of Utah) and co-author of The Grump Meter, A Family Tool for Anger Control.  Mr. Merrill, an accomplished studio artist, spends much of his practice focused on community art projects which are steeped his belief “that artists should enter society and create positive change, as well as retreat into their studios to articulate their own private voices.” While in residency, he will  facilitate a youth community portrait project focused on the intersections of art, feelings, behavior, and identity. drawingDuring this time, Mr. Merrill will also be working in the studio to  produce a series of five drawings/mixed media works that respond to the participants’ art with the Grump Meter. These large abstracted drawings will be based on the stories that participants tell through their own art.

The project is a youth community portrait project focused on the intersections of art,

This residency sponsored, in part, by a generous grant from The Boise Weekly Cover Art Auction.
This residency sponsored, in part, by a generous grant from The Boise Weekly Cover Art Auction.

feelings, behavior, and identity and it is based on and inspired by Ms. Kaufman’s book.  This project has been successfully carried out in multiple communities and has been praised by schools, parents, government offices, and corporations alike.

At heart, the Grump Meter is, an art project: youth and adults make their own Grump Meters, and each one is different and creates pathways to new observation, inquiry, insight, and connection. Making Grump Meters IMG_3234together gets people of all ages reflecting on their own lives artistically and playfully. The Grump Meter is a colored ladder, a visual representation of mood.  It serves as tool to self-regulate emotion and as a reminder to stay calm (blue) and prevent the climb up to explosive anger (red). Discussions about the Grump Meter aim to teach people how to deescalate before they start climbing the ladder.

To see this project in action, visit the following locations: YMCA, ANSER Public Charter School, Borah High School, Roosevelt Elementary, Idaho Fine Arts Academy, Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, Boise Bicycle Project, and Boise State Writing Project.

Tuesday, June 16
free | all ages welcome

During this event, the studio work of Mr. Merrill’s residency will be exhibited.  Mr. Merrill and Ms. Kaufman will discuss their public art project (and the value of such projects in general) in addition to inviting patrons to participate in a related hands-on activity.

All events at SUREL’S PLACE
212 E 33rd St | Garden City, ID