Trash turned art is showcased at Boonville festival
BOONVILLE - Bottlecap catfish and silver soda-tab turtles glinted in the sun outside the Isle of Capris Casino Hotel in Boonville Saturday.
Short gusts of wind caused the pieces of trash to stir while the music group Violet and the Undercurrents moved to their second verse.
The students of Helen Sanders' high school art class in Boonville were given two weeks to use pieces of trash to create a river-related sculpture.
The students found materials everywhere from their employers to a nearby railroad track.
(Photo: Students from Boonville High School used pieces of trash to create works of art. Alyssa Dell's "Trash Can" was designed to return recyclable and landfill items back into something useful.)
The artwork was featured at Missouri River Relief's festival in Boonville.
Alex Prentice, the educational director for Missouri River Relief reached out to different schools in Missouri for willing participants, and Sanders thought it would be a great opportunity for her students.
"I was hoping they would see the connection of making people aware of the world around them," Sanders said.
One of the more innovative projects was a trash can made from shoe boxes, packaging and carry-out bags. The artist, Alyssa Dell, wanted to create a piece of art that turned recyclable items into a useful object. The purpose was to mean something more than trash, she said in her written artist statement.
The trash-to-art idea bloomed from a collaboration of local artist Holly Hughes and Melanie Cheney, River Relief's assistant program manager.
Cheney's blog, "Plastic Soup News," focuses on single-use plastic pollution worldwide. It features news about bag bans, innovations to deter single-use pollution, and other problems. Single-use plastic items include water bottles and Ziploc bags.
Hughes's art is created from recycled and landfill material. Her newest piece of art, a bald eagle created with both recyclable and landfill material, was featured at the festival. It was delicately packed into her husband's hand-painted truck at the end of the day. Prentice used Hughes's art as a launching point to help inspire students.
"The beauty of the project is getting kids to think about trash differently," Prentice said.
Several of the students helped in the cleanup associated with the festival.
(Photo: "River Bike" by Boonville high school student Will Engle is covered from handlebars to tires in items of trash he found)
Prentice hopes more people will get involved with the annual cleanups in Missouri.
"What we do speaks largely to the community," Prentice said. "It brings people together for the common good."
It was the first festival Missouri River Relief held in Boonville, and the first cleanup since 2005.
(Photo: Steve the "Metallic Catfish," designed by Taylor Ellebracht, was created using aluminum foil, newspapers and spiral notebook wires.)