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An exercise in “creative stewardship”

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Recycling is a good first step in reducing landfill waste, and river clean-up efforts help restore natural habitats. But can reclaimed waste be considered anything more than garbage? This summer visual art students enrolled in “Sculpture & the Waste Stream” are going to find out.

For three weeks this June, Associate professor Matt Burke and visiting Free State Festival artist, Aurora Robson, will lead students through an intensive sustainable sculpture course. The students will kick-off the semester with a Kaw River clean-up and a visit to the local recycling center.

“Sustainable art practices take many forms, and with Aurora’s visit, students will be introduced to the idea of remediation, cleaning up garbage and using it as a way to create artwork,” Burke said. “Creativity and the arts need to play an even larger role in pressing issues like the waste stream, by exploring how direct, creative action actually influences how we think.”

Students will spend the first of class gathering and cleaning several hundred pounds of garbage in order to clean it up, assemble it, and apply a finish on their sculptural forms. Each student will create a finished work that can’t be confused with garbage.

“This is an exercise in creative stewardship that introduces students to a mode of creativity beneficial to all life on earth,” Robson said. “It is designed to spark innovative practices at the fertile intersection of art and science.”

The course culminates in a pop-up exhibition in conjunction with the Lawrence Arts Center’s Free State Festival at the Lawrence Public Library on June 24. All of the student work will be available to purchase with proceeds benefiting the Friends of the Kaw.

Robson is an innovative artist whose work combines meticulous technique, eye-catching aesthetics and a healthy dose of environmental activism. Learn more at aurorarobson.com.



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