Wilders Grove public art project focuses on recycling

sbarr@newsobserver.comJanuary 21, 2014 

The new wall relief at Wilders Grove is made up of recycled materials including old T-shirts, cereal boxes and plastic grocery bags. More than 200 volunteers helped collect the items used in the piece.


  • Want to go?

    What: Wilders Grove Open House

    When: Jan. 25, 10 a..m. – 12 p.m.

    Where: Wilders Grove Solid Waste Services Facility, 630 Beacon Lake Drive, Raleigh

    Cost: Free

— A new public art installation at one of the city’s garbage and recycling facilities encourages viewers to think about their role in minimizing waste in their communities.

The colorful 8 feet by 40 feet relief wall inside the Wilders Grove Solid Waste Services Facility is made of layered recycled materials such as t-shirts, cereal boxes and plastic grocery bags and features interactive video kaleidoscopes that focus on the recycling process.

The city will unveil the work at an open house on Jan. 25. The piece is the first of three works of public art officials expect will open in the city before late spring.

Matt McConnell, one of three artists who helped lead the project, said the project was a great one, especially because of the level of community involvement. More than 200 volunteers helped collect materials and assemble during 1,200 hours of work.

McConnell, who worked with artists William Lee Cherry and Marc Russo on the design and production, said he hopes the project allows viewers to consider carefully how their decisions affect the earth.

“I hope that they can think about the way that they consume and how the waste that they create contributes to the environment,” he said.

The $30,000 Wilders Grove public art project was funded through the city’s “Half Percent for Art” program, which sets aside about half of one percent of municipal construction funds for public art.

Kim Curry-Evans, public art coordinator in the Office of Raleigh Arts, said that public art plays a dual role. It not only makes the city attractive to residents and business that help fuel the economy but it also has a role in place-making. People connect with art and incorporate it into their understanding of what the city is.

“A city is not just a box. It becomes more when you can experience such different, beautiful, creative ideas,” she said.

During the open house, the city also will mark the facility’s recent certification as a LEED Platinum building, the highest designation for buildings that are designed with sustainability in mind. The $14.65 million facility opened two years ago and has sustainable energy use, lighting, water and material features.

For example, the building includes solar panels on portions of the roots, a geothermal energy system and recycled construction materials.

The open house will include tours of the facility. For those that visit at another time, interpretative signs explain the building’s features.

The two other public art projects expected to open this spring are an interactive set of hoops at the Halifax Community Center and sculptures at the Northeast Remote Operations Facility. Half a dozen other projects also are in the works and will open during the next few years.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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