Article taken from the Oregon Metro News:
Artists scavenge through region's trash, search for creative answers for September exhibition:
First, the good news: Unofficial and highly biased sources rate our region as having one of the most creative and diverse artist communities in the country.
The bad news? Portland-area residents are not very imaginative when it comes to their trash. According to the state Department of Environmental Quality, we still send more than 2.1 million tons of garbage and recyclables to landfills every year.
Is there a creative way to remedy this problem?
The answer, in a word, is GLEAN. The arts and environmental education program addresses the area's excessive waste generation by harnessing available artistic energy to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate. Administered by Cracked Pots, an environmental arts organization, GLEAN is a collaboration between Metro and Recology, an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities.
Five artists were selected by a jury of arts and environmental professionals to participate in this year's program. The artists, all local residents, include Andrew Auble, Chandra Glaeseman, Greg Hanson, Jennifer LaMastra and Sarah Wolf Newlands. They will be paid a stipend to spend seven months gleaning materials discarded at the Metro Central Transfer Station in Northwest Portland. Each will create at least ten pieces of art, results of which will be on exhibition at Disjecta Interdisciplinary Art Center the last three weekends of September.
New this year, the artists are blogging about their experience as they dig through discards and conjure creative ways to reassemble them into works of art. They muse about objects they find ("Pianos everywhere … the third that's been uncovered …"), describe their work area ("it doesn't look like much, but it's safe") and unburden themselves from bearing witness to loads of useful items thrown out by others ("I fiercely want to rescue everything").
GLEAN is in its second year, having been launched in 2011 as the Pacific Northwest Art Program. The inspiration for the program comes from the renowned Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Program. Since its founding more than 20 years ago, the San Francisco program has supported more than 100 professional and student artists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has been the subject of national and international press. Each year, more than 5,000 children and adults visit art exhibitions and attend educational tours that enable artists to interact with the public while teaching important lessons about recycling and reuse.
During the 2011 Pacific Northwest Art Program, thousands of arts patrons, students and others visited the Metro Regional Center in Northeast Portland to view the exhibition. Attendees nominated their favorite piece by each of the five artists. The result was the People's Choice Awards. The same idea is planned for the 2012 show.