Transformative power of art changes trash to treasure

Stella-lee Anderson talks to a Hilton Head Island Middle School class about collecting non-recyclables for the community Junk Workshop Day that Anderson will lead at Shelter Cove Community Park April 19. COURTESY OFFICE OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS

Our island is one of the most naturally inspiring destinations that I have encountered and we consider ourselves lucky to wake up here every day. Taking care of our island and all of its glory is our most important responsibility.

In an effort to keep our beaches, parks and marshes clean, the Office of Cultural Affairs partnered with the Outside Foundation to take some of the unrecyclable trash pulled out of Broad Creek during their Clean-Up the Broad volunteer day in February, clean it up and dry it out to use as supplies for our Junk Workshop Day.

On April 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Shelter Cove Community Park, Hilton Head artist Stella-lee Anderson and poet Miho Kinnas will be facilitating a day of art making and poetry writing, using trash as the inspiration.

Anderson came to Hilton Head Island 11 years ago from Eugene, Oreg. In Eugene, she was the founder of Jawbreaker, a junk art creation and exhibit space that was created to remove waste from the community and turned it into visual art exhibitions.

Using her experience, taking these items that were pulled out of Broad Creek and repurposing them into works of art is how we'd like to engage the community to take care of our island and have some fun at the same time.

The day is free and open to participants of all ages, but an adult must accompany children. The supplies will be set to execute pre-instructed projects and there will also be a pile of free-for-all junk for people who want to freestyle their creation.

Kinnas is a published poet who calls the island home. She will be leading art makers through drafting a short, three-line poem inspired by the artist's creation.

In addition to the supplies scavenged, participants are encouraged bring their own unrecyclable trash (cleaned and dry) with them to contribute to the art making supplies.

Items to collect include: synthetic and real corks, wooden and plastic coffee stirrers, straws (drinking, cocktail and flower), six-pack rings, DVDs, CDs and cases, popsicle sticks, chopsticks, plastic bottle caps, mylar coffee bags, twist ties, bread bag clips, plastic cutlery, soup cans, rubber bands, and mesh fruit bags.

Let's work together to keep these items out of our landfills and oceans and reuse them by transforming them into something beautiful.

Jennifer McEwen is the director of the Town of Hilton Head Island's Office of Cultural Affairs.

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