Bubbler Wrap Up: Kim Charles Kay

Bubbler Wrap Up: Kim Charles Kay

Kim Charles Kay took a moment to sit down with library staff to highlight her experience as the Bubbler’s November and December artist-in-residence.

Kay recently moved to Madison from Brooklyn, New York but has lived and worked across the U.S., turning school buses into gathering spaces, turning feelings into form, turning ideas into something tangible. As an interdisciplinary artist, Kay’s practice involves installation, photography, sculpture, performance and painting with each medium informing the next.

Her artist-in-residence workshops focused on using simple art-making materials to explore problems that feel overwhelming or unresolvable. “I had some very tender and lovely moments during my time with the Bubbler,” said Kay.

Family Art

Some of those moments happened during a workshop with the Post Adoption Resource Center (PARC), where Kay worked with over 60 participants to create “family pictures”.

“November is National Adoption Month and PARC was interested in doing a  project that reflected the multiple realities of adoption,” Kay explained. “So each family member was given paper, cut to the size of photographs and asked to create watercolor paintings of memories – Invented or remembered. We created a larger picture of the PARC community with those drawings.”

In addition to her time in the public library, Kay was asked to facilitate art making workshops at community centers across Madison. “It was through the Bubbler that I was connected up with the centers. These community centers are doing such incredible work and feel like an secret treasure of Madison. One I would have never known about without the far-reaching knowledge of Bubbler staff, Trent and Carlee.”

When asked about some of the obstacles faced during her residency, Kay addressed the fact that sometimes having too much creative freedom in a space can be a hindrance for her. “I like constraints, conceptual or material, and once I got into the Bubbler it was clear just how much freedom I had. Which, as far as problems go, is pretty great problem to have.”


One way she hopes the artist-in-residence program can continue to evolve and improve is by further supporting the goals of the library and pushing artistic questions that support the community and reach specific audiences.

She explained, “The library is a great place for reaching so many different audiences. Currently it’s a studio site but the library as a form is also a site of circulation and distribution. It’s a great place to play and push into those concerns. You’re providing the artist with an extraordinary opportunity to play and engage with the public.”

She hopes more people will see the Bubbler as more than just a place for events but a place for folks to create whenever they have time to pop in.

Learn more about the Artist-in-Residence program at madisonbubbler.org/artist-in-residence. And connect with Kim Charles Kay at kimcharleskay.com.

The Artist-in-Residence program, connecting artists to the community and the community to artists, is funded by Scooter Software, Inc. 

Family Art Kim's Workshops