Friday, 25 April 2014

Reusing in Edmonton: Green Window City Project

The Green Window City Project has brought Edmonton artists and business owners together to #rethinkjunk! How? With creative window installations made from reusable, but unwanted, materials. The event officially launched on April 18th with installations brightening several shop windows in Old Strathcona.

Green Window City Project organizer and Reuse Centre volunteer, Kelly Atkinson, may have "made up" the idea of the Green Window City project after getting involved in the Edmonton art scene and the Reuse Centre, but there was a lot of work involved in getting it off the ground. She had to create a dialogue with several Old Strathcona businesses and local artists to ensure their participation. Kelly also pitched her idea to the Awesome Edmonton Foundation and was awarded a small grant to help support the project.

She invited the Reuse Centre blogger team to participate in this recycled art initiative. We got together on Saturday, April 12 to help build an upcycled window installation to be displayed at Old Strathcona Books. Kelly’s vision for our installation was of large block letters, spelling out "WE ♥ YEG , one letter per window, and every letter covered in a different repurposed material from the Reuse Centre.

Finishing off the cardboard letters

So we cut the letters from cardboard then we all played Goldilocks for a few minutes as we browsed the shelves of the Centre for supplies. These shortbread tins are too big. These trophies are too heavy. These packing peanuts could be cool. But this Physics textbook and that smutty romance novel were just right. Back upstairs with our loot, we made a unanimous decision. The front of the block letters would be different, but the back of every letter would be covered in pages from some of the amusing books we found in the store. There were six letters to be decorated and six volunteers, so everyone chooses one. The "Y" was calling to me.
The G is ready! 
My "Y" ended up covered in bits and pieces from the Physics textbook, a Calculus textbook, a Windows '97 manual, a 2003 astrology guide for Aquarius, a directory of hydraulic motors, and choice sections from Blazing Vixen. Feeling impressed with myself, I started browsing the bounty we had brought upstairs for the perfect thing to decorate my letter.

Michelle working on the heart 
I covered my Y with large, multi-coloured, three-dimensional bows that look surprisingly fabulous glued closely together and covering every inch of cardboard. I had never been so proud of something I'd made by hand, and I don't think I'm the only one. Kelly's enthusiasm is so contagious, and we were all excited to be part of something so cool.

The final result, can you guess what we used to decorate the letters?
The installations officially launched on April 18th in Old Strathcona and will end on Sunday, April 27th. Event details can be found on the Green Window City website.  If the project is well-received, Kelly hopes to see Green Window City extend to other neighbourhoods. So show your support for this innovative recycled art project by stopping by this weekend to check out our installation and the 12 others in Old Strathcona!

- Nichole (Volunteer)

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