Art at the Dump: Twenty Years of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology

Recology, Intersection for the Arts, and Hub Bay Area are pleased to present the exhibition, Art at the Dump: Twenty Years of the Artist in Residence Program at Recology at Intersection 5M. This exhibition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the art and education program at Recology San Francisco, a one-of-a-kind initiative that enables artists to work with materials taken directly from the city of San Francisco’s waste stream, while teaching the public about recycling and resource conservation. Art at the Dump presents a sampling of work made by some of the more than eighty artists who have participated in the program. Work in a variety of mediums—sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, performance, video, textiles, and musical composition—is represented, and often runs counter to traditional notions of what art made from found materials should look like.

The Recology Artist in Residence Program was established in 1990 at the same time that curbside recycling was being implemented in San Francisco. Conceived by artist and activist Jo Hanson, it was the most innovative component of an outreach plan developed by the City and Recology San Francisco (then known as Sanitary Fill Company) to educate people about recycling. Now twenty years later, the Artist in Residence Program has grown to include an Environmental Learning Center, an extensive tour program, a three-acre sculpture garden, off-site exhibitions, and has been nationally recognized and awarded as the only program of its kind in the country. Artists are provided with a stipend and a well-equipped studio to make artwork from materials they scavenge from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area (“the dump”). Artists speak to the more than 5,000 students and adults who annually attend the San Francisco garbage and recycling facility tours which focus on the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.

“Throwing things away is an automatic action for many of us and I think art has a remarkable way of showing us the layers of our existence that our repetitive daily lives obscure” says former artist-in-residence David King. Though the artwork is incredibly varied, the connecting thread is that these were all materials that at one time passed through the hands of San Franciscans—things once with meaning or function, determined to no longer be of use. But as the artists demonstrate, much of what we throw away still does have the potential to be used.

The exhibition features the work of over fifty artists including Estelle Akamine, Ellen Babcock, Bill Basquin, Nemo Gould, James Gouldthorpe, David Hevel, Dee Hibbert Jones, Christina Mazza, Sirron Norris, Scott Oliver, Nicole Repack, Isis Rodriguez, James Sansing, Nathaniel Stookey, E. Banker White, and Noah Wilson. Work by artists who have participated in the Student Artist in Residence Program will be presented in the building’s café. A publication documenting the history of the Recology Artist in Residence program will be available for sale.


Exhibition: July 21–September 25, 2010

Reception: Wednesday, July 21st, 6-8 pm

Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 12-6 pm; First Thursdays: 12-8 pm


Intersection 5M, In the Historic San Francisco Chronicle Building

925 Mission Street (at 5th Street), San Francisco, CA 94103

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  • Directory of Summer Learning Enrichment Resources | Mo'Magic :

    […] early for a great tour of the Recology (formerly Sunset Scavenger) recycling facility, Artist-in-Residence Program and Sculpture Garden. All students on the tour must be 9 and older, and groups are limited to 35 students and five […]

    9 years ago

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