Kim Testone

The Real Game of American Life

The door is located at on Ben’s Chilli Bowl on H Street

Artist Statement

I grew up in a low-income family who rented for a large part of my childhood. We were fortunate to rent a property that was owned by a friend of the family, who charged us well below market value. Had we not been so lucky, our lives could have been very different, and I may not have had as many opportunities as I did. To address the impact that rising rent costs have on families, I created a board game that demonstrates how the deck is stacked against many types of people who must work just to pay their rent. I feel the “game” painting creates a unique and engaging approach to presenting the issues of the rental crisis and giving the public an opportunity to think, giggle and discuss the issue with others. I tried to keep the game relatively simple. The color piece you select represents in part your ethnicity, financial status, gender, etc. and can sometimes affect your game play. The path you are forced to begin on has an even greater effect on your ability to win the game and achieve the American Dream. You will note that the blue path, in which you are raised in a situation where you are forced to pay increasing rent throughout your life, is severely (although not completely) at a disadvantage compared to the yellow path. Although most of the game is in jest, there is truth hidden there, and I hope that people can read past the game and begin to understand why rising rent costs are such an important topic.

The Real Game of American Life


Kim Testone is a former art magazine editor, writer and theme park caricature artist. She grew up in a small working-class town in Western Pennsylvania before relocating to Florida, pursuing her education and eventually becoming the editor of a small fine art magazine. After several years of interviewing many of the country’s best artists, she decided to focus on improving her own painting skills, building a library of books on technique and using all of her spare time to practice. Today, she paints full-time, always pushing to refine her work. Using a highly detailed approach to realism, Kim’s paintings seek to connect the viewer to nostalgic memories from childhood, including toys, games and food. Through this, Kim hopes to draw connections between the optimism of our past and the issues of our present because, she believes, when people feel like kids again they are more likely to be hopeful and thoughtful about the future. Kim currently resides in a quiet neighborhood in Upstate New York with her husband and their three cats.

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Thank you to our partners for hosting the artists during the painting of The Doors of Make Room