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Great Balls of Wire: Art Show to Benefit the Sierra Club

by Judith Ann Moriarty

Can it. Bag it. Sack it. Weave, paint, sculpt. Simply stated, whatever’s in your recycle bin can begin again as “art with attitude.” The 2nd Annual Recycled Art Show benefiting The Sierra Club Great Waters Group, is linked with Gallery Night & Day on April 16-17. Folks turn out in droves for Gallery Night & Day, and because the benefit is in the Third Ward this year, in the former LoDuca Building at 400 N. Broadway, it should pull in a lot of viewers eager to see the recently renovated property. Built in 1911, at one time the building housed a wholesale grocery business, which if history has it right, was responsible for shipping the first bananas to our town. Later it sheltered the Bruce Printing Company (Bibles) and a wholesale/retail musical instrument emporium. Is it not the perfect spot for a recycled art exhibit? If you wisely refuse to drive there, then take a bus, cab-it, cycle, walk, or hitch a ride with friends. When you arrive, look for the historic photos of bananas. That alone is worth the trip. Event manager Sarah Drilias says last year’s benefit, with 700 people giving to the cause, netted a nifty $1200, which included sponsorships and donated pieces from twenty plus artists, put up for bid during a silent auction. “We ask the artists to assign a value to their art, and we start the bidding at 40% of that value,” she notes, adding that 20 artists are again needed for this year’s exhibit. Expect food and entertainment, too, specifically the band Blue Valentine. During the “day” segment on Saturday, April 17, a fun, free workshop for kids ages 6-10 gets underway at 10 a.m. Set a good example by showing them that art and creativity are one and the same; that life is more than one big video game. Clueless about how to turn junk into art? Consider the following items spotted in some around-town galleries: a bowling ball transformed into a Harley Hog (Jimmy Von Milwaukee), soda cans crushed and collaged by artist Fayeth Levine, a circa ’50s coffee pot punctuated with holes and strung thru with tiny lights, and yes, a murky landscape painting retrieved from Goodwill and repainted in a funky style. A recent venture into the discount room at Riverview Antiques even brought forth a bowling pin dressed and painted to resemble a cub scout. With a few ticks of the clock and a modest outlay of less than $5, you too can produce a trashy treasure. Now get busy. Rip, shred, reshape. Bend, twist, rethink. One old shoe, a bottle of glue, and a sticker or two may surprise you. What can you do to cheat our landfills and/or keep the Des Moines from lambasting our lake’scape? Find out by contacting www.wisconsin sierraclub.org/gwg/ or call Sarah Drilias at 414/442-7120.