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Trash or treasure?

Billy Bob in Love, by Mike Hendrix, won a first place prize. The piece was just one of many at the event. (click for larger version)
May 02, 2012 - By Tahra Gribbin

Review Intern

On April 23, the Orion Art Center drew a large crowd to an exhibit which opened that evening. One of the interesting things about the nature themed exhibit which will be running until June 9 was the medium used to create the art pieces - the artists used trash.

"It was a nature theme this year so we changed the theme to incorporate natural elements as well as the garbage," said Orion Art Center Director, Lauren Dinneweth. "They used automobile parts, scrap metal, trash that was pulled from the lake and anything that you can think of."

The show is sponsored by Waste Management, art is included from all ages and there are awards given to youth, teens and adults. Dinneweth is encouraging families to see the show and make their own creations. There will be free crafting sessions for youth and families who come to observe the show and kids can create their own pieces on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m

"The recycled art show is a show for the entire family," Dinneweth said. "It's nice because everyone can participate. Students are also welcome to come in with their teachers and families."

During this year's show, artists once again turned discarded objects into art. This year's nature theme inspired pieces such as a floor-to-ceiling fiber art coral reef, a turtle made out of old car parts and pieces that mix natural elements with found trash objects.

"The artists use anything and everything," said Dinneweth. "What's so great about this show is that the artists have each piece tell a story. It's their vision. They took something that we don't value, would throw away and saw something in it."

The show's first place winners included Mike Hendrix's piece 'Billy Bob in Love," Toni Millman's "Keep our Waterways Clean," Sarah Bailey's "Growth," and Ava Wagner's "Flower Garden." These pieces remain on display in the Orion Art Center's gallery.

"These objects have come full circle," Dinneweth said. "They were new, then devalued, then rescued by an artist and given value again. It makes us ask questions about what these were in its other life. We do throw a lot of things away and hopefully these pieces make us ask ourselves why we throw them away."

The Orion Art Center is active throughout the year. Their next project will be the Joan Brace scholarship fund for high school students who are going into art. Students will begin competing to get awards soon. As for the current show, it's very near and dear to Dinneweth's heart.

"It's so important because it's a different type of art because it causes us to take a second look at the things we throw away today," said Dinneweth. "And then we can see how we can repurpose it in our lives and value what we have."

For more information and visiting hours, go to or call 248-693-4986.

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