Here’s a short list of some of the milestones where we have stopped to appreciate the new scenery we have been creating:
•Received an Artists-in-Schools grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council to hire artists to bring the International Plastic Quilt Project to three Portland schools in the Spring of 2012. This resulted in over 1,000 students learning about plastic pollution and interacting with single-use plastic as an art material. Thanks to artists Tim Combs (Lynch View SUN School), Vicky DeKrey (Faubion Elementary) and Bridget Benton (Trillium Charter High School) as well as volunteer organizers at other schools around the country. Our culminating art exhibit at the Gallery at Port City Development contained over 500 quilt squares, as well as sculpture.
•Established our International Plastic Quilt Project programming in the schools. With the help of volunteers, we engaged 11 schools in learning about plastic pollution. Hundreds of students and their families examined ways they could reduce their input into the waste and recycling streams, and inspired others by creating artwork representing their participation.
•Over 200 new quilt “squares” were created and exhibited in June, bringing the Plastic Quilt up to nearly 500 squares from folks young and old, far and wide. We believe in this project’s current momentum and creative potential to unite the efforts to eliminate plastic pollution worldwide with this traveling community art project.
•We worked our Yellow Shelf Project into the prototype stage in two locations around Portland, earning some income and gaining experience working in the local economy. The purpose of the Yellow Shelf Project is to facilitate a retail process between stores, local producers, and consumers that emphasizes packaging reuse. All products are sold in bulk or in prepackaged containers that can be returned to the producers. Soon we will be exploring ways to expand upon this effort to provide functional examples of reuse that support local producers, the environment, and our health.
•In November we were featured at the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Art Spark networking event. RACC is a major granting organization for arts around Portland. We had a great turnout, and it gave us the opportunity to network and invite artists to participate in our quilt project for next year.
•We collaborated with Portland animator Joanna Priestley to co-create a short public service announcement called Choking Hazard to boast the practical efficiency of “reduce” and “reuse” over recycling.
•The International Plastic Quilt Project went international into Mexico, thanks in part to a small Gulf Coast community and a few talented local artists. Twenty-five colorful quilt squares were created by kids and adults in the community.
•Board member Amy Chovnick facilitated the entry of the International Plastic Quilt Project into the San Francisco Maker Faire (and subsequently the World Maker Faire in New York City) and represented the project at several related events in the Bay Area. Here is a blog created by a teacher in California who is doing the Quilt Project with her high school students.
•Key volunteers helped develop the beginnings of the Yellow Shelf Project leading workshops and bringing the products to two local retail locations.
•International Plastic Quilt Project has over 100 squares. Thanks to all for your participation and thoughtful words.