When University of Utah ceramics student Griffin Hale sought to make an installation at Huntsman Cancer Institute, he embarked on a journey with unforeseen impact.
After carefully planning “The Caregivers Window,” Hale recycled organic material into 250 clay bricks. Carrying these bricks up the hill to the Institute grounds, Hale created a temporary structure overlooking the hospital where his mother received treatment.
Stepping into this structure allowed the onlooker to experience the difficulties Hale has faced as one of his mother’s caretakers during her treatment for metastatic breast cancer. The Huntsman Cancer Institute is currently working with Hale, who hopes to build a permanent recreation of his work so its impact can continue.
Hale began his installation with the intent to complete the project alone. However, the installation soon showed him the importance of community. Some of his professors expressed concern that the process would be too strenuous for Hale, who was undeterred.
“Moving the clay myself was important,” he said. “I was able to put a physical form to words that I didn’t know how to open up about.”
Hale said the physical effort of transporting over 2,000 pounds of material transformed his artwork into a personal healing process. Sharing his installation with others is what opened his awareness to the possibilities of communal healing. “The Caregivers Window” has taken experiential art beyond expectations to a new realm of interrelation for those battling cancer and their loved ones.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2022 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.