Upcycle Sculpture Festival

Turning trash into treasure

By Steven Mross Photography by Richard Rasmussen

By Steven Mross
Photography by Richard Rasmussen

The old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could easily be the theme for the Upcycle Sculpture Festival sponsored by the Hot Springs Arts Advisory Committee, which will feature art created from reused materials with awards presented to the top sculptures.

The event will be held at the Hot Springs Farmers & Artisans Market, 121 Orange St., on April 23 with participants installing their art between 7-9 a.m. and the awards presented at noon. Applications for the event must be received no later than April 19 and can be found at http://www.hsfac. com or at the Fine Arts Center of Hot Springs, 626 Central Ave.

Students, teachers, professional artists and groups are all encouraged to submit their work with awards to be presented in six different categories: Individuals up to 12 years of age; individuals age 12 to high school; individual adults; professional artists; groups age 5 to high school; and adult groups.

“We have to stop being a throwaway culture,” said Dale Blackwelder, AAC chairman. “This event will show how imagination can turn any discarded materials into a work of art.”

There are no fees or rules for construction, but artists must be able to transport, set up and remove their art and the primary elements used should be recyclable objects and materials. The art must be removed by 1 p.m.

“We need them to sign up as soon as possible so we can divide up the pie so to speak as far as space,” Blackwelder said, but stressed “we’ve got the entire back side of the park available.”

There are no limitations on the size of the installations or in the number of people participating in the group categories. “There can be three people or more than 20. It doesn’t matter,” he said.GO-SCULPTURE3

Blackwelder said he encourages organizations that participate to bring a sign or logo of their group to display and information about their group. “They can use it as an opportunity to promote their group,” he said.

“I think this is going to be a wonderful thing and we’ll have a good time doing it.”

Blackwelder said he especially hopes to get a good turnout from young people. “Get them away from the television and their computers. Encourage them to use their imagination and think.”

He said they took fliers to all the schools and “I hope that gets a good response. We want to make this an annual thing. Only time will tell.”

Blackwelder said the artists can use any type of materials for their art. “Any medium. The more obscure the better,” he said. “Taking disposable stuff and turning it into something viable.

“You don’t have to spend $25,000 to make art. You can do art every day in every aspect of your life. Just use things around you. Creating art is something that will stay with you for your entire life. It’s a learning experience.”GO-SCULPTURE2

He said artists will be able to compare their work to others and “learn from each other. It stimulates everybody.”

Nan Cameron, an AAC Committee member, said, “I love Hot Springs because it’s such a creative mecca,” noting she was very pleased with the response so far to the Upcycle Festival.

“The challenge of creating art from objects that would usually be relegated to the trash heap is sure to spawn delightful sculptures in this family-friendly event. We can’t wait to see the sculptures. Will there be whimsy? Dragons? Sculptures with crystals?”, she said.

Blackwelder noted that people are free to sell their works too. “If you want to sell it, just put a price tag on it,” he said.

“We’re not asking for a percentage or anything. Some galleries charge a lot to display your work, but this is free.”

He said, “I hope this will be something the community talks about. We need to get the community involved in the parks. A lot of people don’t even know the parks are here. They’re here for everyone to enjoy and make use of.”

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