Make Art, Not Landfill: The 25th Anniversary of the Recology Artist in Residence Program


Thoreau Center for Sustainability
Presidio Building 1014 (Lincoln Blvd. and Torney Ave.), San Francisco 94129


Exhibition: June 8-September 10, 2015
Reception: Thursday, June 11, 2015, 5-8pm
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm

Admission is free and open to the public, all ages welcome, wheelchair accessible.

JamilJamil Hellu, Cart 4, Balls (Blue),
chadChad Hasegawa, Bear,
amyAmy Wilson Faville, Carpet Mountain, 2012.
laurenLauren DiCioccio, Thank You Bag (White and Blue).


In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Recology Artist in Residence Program, Recology and the Thoreau Center for Sustainability are hosting an exhibition and reception at the Thoreau Center’s galleries. The exhibition will run from June 8 to September 10 and will feature more than 50 artworks made from recycled materials by 43 artists during their residencies at “the dump.” An opening reception will be held on Thursday, June 11, from 5-8pm.

Since the Artist in Residence Program’s founding in 1990, more than 150 Bay Area artists have worked at Recology San Francisco, making art from things that people have thrown away. The program is the first of its kind in the country and was developed when curbside recycling was established in San Francisco. Conceived by artist and activist Jo Hanson, the program was the most innovative component of an education initiative that encouraged people to recycle. Now, twenty-five years later, the program has garnered international attention, and has grown to include an Environmental Learning Center, an extensive public tour program, a three-acre sculpture garden, and off-site exhibitions.

Thirty artists have completed residencies since 2010 when the program celebrated its twentieth anniversary. Work by these artists is included in the exhibition, along with pieces by several previous artists. Artwork represented includes painting, sculpture, photography, textiles, collage, sound art, and mixed-media. A video slide show documenting all former artists will also be presented in the exhibition.

The goal of the Artist in Residence Program is to support Bay Area artists while teaching the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Artists work in a studio on-site at San Francisco’s Transfer Station and scavenge in the Public Disposal and Recycling Area for materials to make their art. The results of hyper-consumerism, easy disposability, planned obsolescence, and our general love of “stuff” are disturbingly plentiful. Not all artists necessarily make work that directly addresses these issues, but all residency participants do feel the impact of being so intimately exposed to the waste stream.

Recology is honored to partner with Tides and the Thoreau Center on this exhibition and celebration. The Tides-operated Thoreau Center is a 150,000 square foot nonprofit center located in the historic Presidio. Comprising 12 buildings, the environmentally and financially sustainable facility houses over 60 nonprofits that work for a healthy environment and a just world.

Recology is an employee-owned company that traces its roots back to Gold-Rush-era San Francisco. It provides collection, recycling, disposal, and composting and has over 40 subsidiaries, including Golden Gate Disposal and Sunset Scavenger. Recology is proud to serve more than 127 communities including 700,000 residential and 100,000 commercial customers in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.


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