Art has the power to generate change, even if that comes in a shade of
green. As a community, we are striving to become more environmentally
aware and Southern Maryland artists are doing their part. Local artists
are recycling, reusing and saving items bound for the landfill. They're
turning trash to treasure by creating one-of-a-kind recycled art that
adds beauty and whimsy to our lives.
Nanjemoy artist Kevin Grimes is not only creating art, he is inspiring
the next generation to care for our planet. Working closely with
children's groups like the Girl Scouts and Planet Protectors, Grimes has
organized river clean-ups at Chapel Point State Park and Mattawoman
Creek that end in an art class. The trash turned art supplies activity
teaches a valuable lesson. While creating mobiles from their finds -
usually with fishing line, beach glass and wood - the children learn the
impact of pollution on wildlife. Grimes is passionate about his art and
uses it to move others to take action. His piece called "Trash Suit" was
created by using a jump suit wrapped in fishing nets found in the
Mattawoman Creek and covered with trash found on local beaches. He
displays this piece at local art shows hoping to increase awareness and
encourage others not to "trash our rivers."
Hollywood artist Rosemary Hofmann Bailey "hates to throw anything away
and hates to see anyone else throw anything away." While commenting on
her collection of supplies, often recovered from dumpsters and thrift
stores, she added, "I may not have used it yet, but I will." When a
friend was throwing away leftover pieces of picture frames, Bailey saved
buckets full and held on to them until she was inspired to use the
pieces to create a unique headboard. After a mishap at an art gallery
resulting in a potter's work breaking, Bailey began collecting broken
and leftover pottery pieces, which she eventually used to create a
20-foot-long retaining wall.
Candy Cummings, a Lexington Park artist and graduate of Temple
University's Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, saw an opportunity
when her father retired and the building that once housed his television
and appliance store was torn down. She usually figures out the design of
the work in her mind before she starts the creation.
Cummings recovered glass tubes from spare televisions and created
sculptures. Believing "there should be more color in the world,"
Cummings is now creating "flamboyant" purses from thrift store finds,
and crosses from old belts, wood, buttons and beads. Cummings is not
only giving old objects new life, she runs an art gallery in the
Lexington Park Public Library where she says "the marriage of art and
literature is great."
Harold Kyle, an artist displaying his work at the Mattawoman Creek Art
Center in Marbury, is resourceful in his choice of mediums. Kyle has
created mobiles and sculptures using spare car parts. A mobile created
from car light lenses, the free CDs that come through the mail, car
windows used for self-portraits, fenders carved with a torch and a
spiral sculpture using 56 rearview mirrors are just a few of Kyle's
Over in Calvert County, Nancy Collery Klapper of the Main Street Gallery
in Prince Frederick often uses found objects for displays and artwork.
In the gallery, there's an old crutch covered in glitter used to display
Annmarie Garden in Solomons is doing its part by using recycled
materials for the public art project each year. Starting in June and
going through September, the garden offers an opportunity for the
community to contribute to a work of art. The project is free to
everyone, is set up outside and is self-guided.
Previous projects have included using plastic bottles painted white for
the piece "Pillars: Wishes for a Better World" and painted canning jar
lids used to make the world's largest wind chime. Once completed, the
public art project is displayed in the garden from September through
November allowing visitors to appreciate art in a recycled way.
By encouraging us to find uses for objects we might otherwise throw
away, local artists are making a difference. Bailey urges, "I wish
people would just look at things differently. You can find just about
one more life in anything rather than sending it to the landfill."