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February 21, 2013

The Art of Recycling: Sustainability project at The Woods wastes no resources in creating big fish from trash

ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — Trash from the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife area will be transformed into an art project at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

The temporary art “installation,” scheduled to be completed by April 20, ties in with the 2013 Year of the River celebration, said Rebecca Andrews, chairwoman of the college’s Department of Text & Image.

Trash will be used to make a 12-foot by 7-foot fish, and the project is intended to show how trash that goes into the river is affecting fish and other life, Andrews said. “It is not meant to be pretty art, but to educate.”

According to a description of the project, students intend to “use symbolism throughout our artwork by literally surrounding the fish with trash. Fish in the Wabashiki are continuously surrounded by trash. They breathe, eat and swim in it. People will be able to physically walk through the fish. As they do, it will be as if they are the fish because they are entering trash and traveling through it.”

We want to engage our audience and make them aware of the trash in our rivers and water. We hope this will communicate the importance of sustainability and protecting our environment.”  

Five seniors are leading the project, including art and design majors Colleen Daum, Katelyn Duke, Emily Fauber and Annie Jones. Jade Scott, journalism and media studies major, also is involved.

Daum, Duke and Jones will be responsible for the installation itself, and Fauber will oversee posters and cards publicizing the art as well as signage. Scott will prepare a documentary.

A 3-D Foundations class will assist with production of the artwork.

The project ties in with the Sustainability Club’s annual cleanup at the Wabashiki site. “We’re partnering with them,” Andrews said. The cleanup is in early April.

 “Our students will take that trash and use it in the installation to show what is going into the river” and the Wabashiki wetlands area, she said.

Also, starting the first weekend in March, those involved with the project — along with members of the 3-D Foundations class — will go to the Wabashiki area every weekend to gather items.

They went there in the fall to collect some trash and get an idea of “what we’d find,” Andrews said.

“They have found tires, bait containers and plastic bottles. They even found toys in one area where people just dumped stuff,” she said.

The installation will be completed April 20, which coincides with the Sisters of Providence Earth Day celebration. It will be on display through May 4 commencement ceremonies.

Faculty came up with the idea of partnering with the Sustainability Club and using trash from the Wabashiki area.

The seniors then came up with the art concept.

“I think it’s a great concept to draw awareness to the fact that we do have something like the Wabash River right here,” said Scott, who will be in charge of the documentary.

Duke said she is excited to be involved “because it is something completely out of my element. … I don’t like messing with trash per se, but making art with it is something different.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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