Would you like to have unlimited 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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of additional artist residences at landfills or transfer stations.
- Recology in San Francisco
- Public Artists in Residence, NYC
- GLEAN in Portland, Oregon
- Recycled Artist in Residency in Philadelphia
- Reclaim Artist Residency in Haliburton, Ontario (for students)
- Monterey Bay Artist Residency (for students)
- Chittenden Solid Waste District – The Art of Recycling – in Vermont
- Ecology Center E-Waste Warehouse Artist Residency in NYC
- The Art of Goodwill in Kentucky
- Edmonton, Alberta artist in residency program
- Seattle artist in residency program
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: