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From Trash to Art

Jun 01, 2016 09:21AM ● Published by Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | tori@mycityjournals.com

Ogden - Students transformed trash into art for the Eccles Community Art Center’s fifth annual Recycled Art Competition, which is open daily during normal business hours until May 6. 

Patrick Poce, director of the center, and Jill Sjoblom, former education curator for the center, came up with the idea for the art show to create an opportunity for students age 12 to 21 to participate in a low-cost art show project. 

“The center wanted to do something that would involve high school and junior high school-aged students, but we knew they didn’t have much money to spend on art supplies,” Debra Muller, assistant director, said. “We thought they could up-cycle to do an art project, and make use of old things that nobody uses.” 

Although open to all Utah students, the project has become an Ogden and Weber School District favorite, gaining more participants each year and making it a more localized show than others offered at the center, Muller said. Students are welcome to enter pieces they make on their own time, but Erica Lyon, Patricia Francesconi and Chad Zielinski – all art teachers at Ben Lomond High School – use the competition as a class assignment. 

“We get more class-wide participation for this project than for any other,” Lyon said. “This medium really speaks to some kids. It’s safe to say this project gets students going home and taking their own time to work on a project that they are really proud of than others.”  

About 40 students in Lyon’s classes enter the show each year. While she brings old supplies from garage sales to class and allows students time to work on the project, she said students often work on their project with their families or find ideas on their own via YouTube. 

One year, a student whose father was a welder, melted down some horse shoes and created a new statue from the metal. Last year some of her students watched a video and learned how to melt down pop cans to create a new work of art. Another year, a student made a replica of the robot “WALL-E” found in the Disney/Pixar film from cardboard. This year several dream catchers, made from recycled materials, are on display. 

It’s a new kind of art project that most of them haven’t experienced before, and that’s why they get so excited and creative, Lyon said. 

“Our society is all about getting rid of stuff and replacing it with something that is better, but that’s not a good long-term practice. Likewise, creating art is kind of a selfish endeavor, in some ways.” Lyon said. “To be mindful of your material by recycling and making something new from something that someone else has given up on gives hope on – that creates hope, and we all need more hope.”

The parameters for the art show are really broad to allow for creativity, Muller said. The single stipulation is that at least 80 percent of each piece must be composed of recycled materials. The artwork is adjudicated, and students may sell it, but they if they choose to sell it, the price tags are usually high because of the effort they put into their creation, Lyon said. The art show is more about the art projects themselves and less about the prizes, she said. 

Winning pieces are chosen by a local artist, the Eccles Community Art Center Staff and the show sponsors. The sponsors – Bloom Recyclers, the Newgate Mall and the Ogden Symphony Ballet Association – provide the prizes in award money, gift cards and concert tickets. 

Awards will be posted at the center during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll May 6 from 5 to 8 p.m.   

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