Artist Residences at Landfills

Would you like to have unlimited access to art supplies? One option might be to do an artist residency at a landfill or transfer station! It all depends on your definition of art supplies.

People all over the world work in landfills. Some are paid a living wage and some are barely surviving. But very few make art from what they find. There have been a few films in recent years about art projects at landfills, such as the 2010 film Waste Land and the 2015 film Landfill Harmonic. I also talk about the Zabaleen in Egypt who sort trash and make art in my popular podcast episode about my favorite TED Talks about creative reuse.

In the United States in the 1970s, two women on opposite sides of the country started artist residencies related to waste management. In New York City, Mierle Laderman Ukeles became the first artist-in-residence for the NYC Department of Sanitation, an unpaid role she has continued to this day – for more than 40 years. In San Francisco, Jo Hansen started an artist residency program at the local transfer station. This program is now called Recology and is a model for artist residencies around the world.

Artist Residencies at Landfills

Here are some programs I found – please contact me at trashmagination@gmail.com if you know of additional artist residences at landfills or transfer stations.

GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019

In August 2019, I saw an exhibit of the work from this year’s artists from the GLEAN program in Portland, Oregon. Here are some pieces at the exhibit:

Miel-Margarita Paredes

Pieces by Miel-Margarita Paredes, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Pieces by Miel-Margarita Paredes, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019

Jeremy Okai Davis

Piece by Jeremy Okai Davis at GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Jeremy Okai Davis at GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Jeremy Okai Davis, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Jeremy Okai Davis, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Jeremy Okai Davis, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019

Vanessa Calvert

Woven sculpture by Vanessa Calvert, GLEAN exhibit, August 2019
Woven sculpture by Vanessa Calvert, GLEAN exhibit, August 2019

Lauren Prado

Pieces by Lauren Prado, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Pieces by Lauren Prado, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019

Asa Mease

Piece by Asa Mease, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Asa Mease, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Asa Mease, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019
Piece by Asa Mease, GLEAN Exhibit, August 2019

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