Junk: a symphony, a book, a treasure

New Music

In the spring of 2010, Nathaniel Stookey, a participant in the Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence program, performed a composition called Junkestra at the San Francisco Symphony. It was played with more than thirty instruments made entirely from objects that were discarded at the San Francisco Dump. Among them were bird cages, bicycle wheels, drawers, sewer pipes, railings, saws, and fixtures. And somehow, Stookey pulled it off. Cnet.com published a nice article about the project, which included a link to the composition’s third movement that you can download here (3MB). Just two years earlier, in 2008, the composition was part of the opening of the California Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park, and was made into a CD performed by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. 

The Book

There are other treasures that have emerged from the Artist in Residence program. For over twenty years, the program has inspired artists and the public to see garbage in a different way. Through the program, artists scavange the “junk” that people throw away–sometimes the volume of useful things can be overwhelming–and they transform what they find into works of art. Last year, Recology produced Art at the Dump: The Artist in Residence Program and Environmental Learning Center at Recology, a book that profiles the 78 artists who had participated in the program since its founding.

Cultural Treasure

The program has won numerous awards and recognition, including the Best Art from Trash – 2011 award from SFWeekly, The Acterra Business Environmental Award in 2009, inspired Recology’s GLEAN (formerly the Pacific Northwest Art Program) in Portland, RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residence) in Philadelphia, and was recently profiled for being the nexus of environmental activism.  The program has become a beacon of culture, education and entertainment in San Francisco.


Join us for the first exhibit of 2012! 503 Tunnel Avenue in San Francisco.

Upscale by Kaiya Rainbolt


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *