The Beach Museum of Art hosted students Thursday night for the Recycled Art Welcome Back Night, a workshop providing students with recycled materials to create their own sustainable art.
Kathrine Walker Schlageck, associate curator of education at the Beach Museum, said the museum is trying to be more sustainable to reduce its carbon footprint.
“The museum itself has [started] changing out light bulbs, using motion sensitive lighting, switching to all biodegradable products for entertaining and recycling all plastics, glass, paper and metal,” Schlageck said.
Schlageck planned the Recycled Art Welcome Back Night in accordance with the new sustainable protocols.
“We want students to feel as though the art museum is a part of their campus experience,” Schlageck said. “We try to provide a variety of experiences for students … The idea for this event comes from two exhibitions about the reuse of items — ‘Thrift Style’ and ‘Reclaimed Creations,'” Schlageck said.
These two exhibitions are on display to the public until December.
“Thrift Style” is a collection of 1920s dresses fashioned from feed sacks, donated by the Rees family from Coffeyville, Kansas.
“People were recycling these [feed sacks] because they had to,” Schlageck said. “Whereas now, we are a total consumer society. Contemporary artists look at this idea of how can we use our art to convey a message of, ‘Let’s think about what we are doing to our planet.'”
Therese Schmaltz, sophomore in art history and graphic design and gallery attendant at the museum, said she is fond of the private exhibit on display entitled “Reclaimed Art” by Japanese artist Sayaka Ganz.
“Our generation now [has an] attitude that is just very ‘throw away,'” Schmatz said. “When you look into these pieces, there are items that you wouldn’t typically think of when making art … the idea that they can be used for something as powerful as art that also brings awareness to a growing problem is great.”
After walking through the exhibits, students at the event convened in the UMB Theater on the second level of the museum where they worked together to build “pillars of sustainability” from used carpet rolls that had been glued onto recycled boards.
Students were provided with materials to decorate the carpet rolls: old magazines, drink caps, jewelry and other small items that “normally end up in the trash,” Schlageck said.
Amber Berg, junior in regional and community planning and a self-professed “tree hugger,” said she is particularly fond of the artistic freedom that the event inspired.
“[I like] that they are letting us do this activity that is both environmentally friendly and open to everyone on campus,” Berg said.
At the end of the night, every student who partook in the event signed the pillars. The “pillars of sustainability” will be on display in the Beach Museum of Art until the end of the semester.